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Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she's seen her fair share of them, and she's excellent at dealing with other people's tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it's an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston fir Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she's seen her fair share of them, and she's excellent at dealing with other people's tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it's an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie's old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren't exactly thrilled to have a "lady" on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn't seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can't think about that. Because she doesn't fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don't date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping...but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she's worked so hard to be taken seriously? Katherine Center's Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.


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Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she's seen her fair share of them, and she's excellent at dealing with other people's tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it's an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston fir Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she's seen her fair share of them, and she's excellent at dealing with other people's tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it's an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie's old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren't exactly thrilled to have a "lady" on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn't seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can't think about that. Because she doesn't fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don't date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping...but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she's worked so hard to be taken seriously? Katherine Center's Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

30 review for Things You Save in a Fire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Center

    Just gonna jump right in and give my own book five beautiful stars. That's reasonable, right? ;)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Five well-deserved, positive, hopeful, when you read it, this book gives you hope, joy, not only warm , definitely heat your heart, gives you tunes makes you dance and sing -at the end you feel like you’re watching Gosling and Stone’s favorite LaLaLand dance scene on your mind over and over again- stars! What an inspirational, fantastic book with those beautiful characters, I wish they were real so I could give them a very big GROUP HUG and tell them I love you 3thousand ! I start to read this bo Five well-deserved, positive, hopeful, when you read it, this book gives you hope, joy, not only warm , definitely heat your heart, gives you tunes makes you dance and sing -at the end you feel like you’re watching Gosling and Stone’s favorite LaLaLand dance scene on your mind over and over again- stars! What an inspirational, fantastic book with those beautiful characters, I wish they were real so I could give them a very big GROUP HUG and tell them I love you 3thousand ! I start to read this book on my lunch break, but lunch turned into let’s have dessert and coffee break, too and coffee break turns into oh look at the look, let’s also have some chai tea latte, it’s 5 pm, (thankfully I’m self-employed )! As you can imagine I had the longest lunch of the history! My counted sighs during this reading: 216 My counted giggles: 34(they were embarrassing, my advice , don’t do at the restaurants crowded with the businessmen with serious faces, one of them already gave me his card, you guess right, he’s shrink!) My counted teardrops: More than 1000, last pages are really hard to survive, good news, a small boy around 6 years young (!) who was sitting at the next table, gave me his chocolate chip cookie ( my favorite)! So I ate it and continued to sob. (At least my ugly cries stopped!) I loved Cassie, she’s achiever, fighter and also survivor, smart, competitor, tough but she’s lonely, hides herself by building concrete walls around her feelings. Till he met the ROOKIE! ( Nope we don’t talk about Nathan Fillion and his TV-series, but let’s imagine 20 years younger version of him, I think Cassie is not going be the only one who is gonna fall in love with rookie! ) The Rookie,( only mentioned few times his real name but this nickname stuck with him),is the sweetest, nicest hero that you can ever imagine. He’s natural born charmer, but as a big plus, he can really cook! He can sense something happened so bad to Cassie in the past but he is really patient enough to win her heart. I confess, as I read a few pages, I thought this is a chic lit meets rom com kinda book. The girl had incident with the city council member who squeezed her butt when she was getting her award for her achievements as a firefighter at the time she’s about to get promoted. So she refused to tell she was sorry to the council member so she was transferred to her new work place with full of biased, Neanderthal meets cavemen, suspicious coworkers. But the other main reason of her move is her sick estranged mother’s need of her urgent help. So we think, okay classically Cassie will make them eat their statements about a woman cannot be good firefighter and beat them up with her spectacular efforts and achievements. She’s gonna learn how to forgive her mother and after longtime she’s gonna learn to open her heart for real love at first sight( a big applause for ROOKIE! Or let’s chant! IN WE ROOKIE WE TRUST) But it’s not simple like that. There are so many issues sensitively told on this book starting with abuse, abandonment, early death, drug addiction, fatal diseases, miscarriages, vandalism etc. And the most interesting thing, the author meticulously deals with these matters and at the end she shows us there are still starts shining above us at the darkest times of the night. She gives us hope, guy and helps us meet with our own happiness! It’s all about to change your point of view and learn how to forgive, starting with yourself! You got it why I gave five stars! Because I have no choice! Good news! Most of the people at the restaurant who just witnessed my reading, already started to give their pre-orders for this book ( Okay, I make them do it by yelling HEY WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR! READ THIS BOOK!!!! But this is irrelevant !) I hope everybody enjoys this as much as like me! Thanks to the publisher for ARC COPY and my special thanks to NetGalley! But mostly thanks to the author for creating this amazing work! blog instagram facebook twitter

  3. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... “Saving lives was easy. Saving herself was another story”. What a fantastic read! Cassie Hanwell is a firefighter with the Austin Fire Department. She is a very busy and independent woman. Her co-workers think she's lonely, but she tells them she’s happy with the way things are. Cassie is about to receive the Austin Fire Department’s Valor Award. She is the FIRST female to ever win this prestigious award. Cassie is anxio My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... “Saving lives was easy. Saving herself was another story”. What a fantastic read! Cassie Hanwell is a firefighter with the Austin Fire Department. She is a very busy and independent woman. Her co-workers think she's lonely, but she tells them she’s happy with the way things are. Cassie is about to receive the Austin Fire Department’s Valor Award. She is the FIRST female to ever win this prestigious award. Cassie is anxiously waiting for them to call her to the stage to receive her award from the Mayor. However, an announcement is made saying that someone else will be giving Cassie the award. When Cassie sees who it is she's shocked. But the shock wears off quickly... What happens next is COMPLETELY unexpected. On top of everything else, Cassie's mother has been trying to get in touch with her. Cassie and her mother are far from close so she’s stunned when her mother says “I need you to come to Massachusetts to live with me". She has some health issues and needs Cassie’s help. She asks Cassie to think it over. Cassie says she doesn’t need any time to think...the answer is no. Unfortunately, before she knows it she’s moving to Boston. Cassie will be working at the Lillian Fire Department, where she’s needed but not wanted. The LFD has NEVER had a woman firefighter. Cassie is determined to prove she can do the job just as well as they can. She is advised to do anything she can to keep from reminding them that she’s a woman (no makeup, no long hair, no jewelry…etc) but she also shouldn’t back down, get offended, or show fear. Will Cassie be able to deal with the “good old boys” and their archaic ideas? “So, to succeed in my new job, I basically need to be an asexual, androgynous, human robot that’s dead to all physical and emotional sensation.” Easy peasy… right? Soon some surprising feelings have Cassie rethinking many parts of her life. Is it possible that she may even end up breaking the biggest rule of all ? Cassie survived her past by never talking about it with ANYONE. She closed off many parts of herself so then she wouldn't get hurt. But could she be missing out on something wonderful? Every now and then a story comes along that gets me right in the heart. “Things You Save in a Fire” is that kind of story. I've said it before but I really do love the way Katherine Center writes about the messy parts of life with such honesty. The storyline was well-written and there were many great relatable characters. From the laugh out loud moments to the heartbreaking moments, this story had me gripped until I finished the very last page. “Things You Save in a Fire” is a heart-warming, gut-wrenching, and hilarious story about healing, family, forgiveness, courage, and love. I'd like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All views are my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    5 Sappy Stars! An Unputdownable, Funny, Fabulous and Sweet novel, that will end up on my Best of List for 2018! How do I love Thee? Let me tell you the ways! “Things You Save in a Fire” turned me into a complete mush. Yes, it’s true and I admit it. I know, I know, it’s unbelievable right? Roll your eyes at me, go ahead - it seems utterly preposterous given what you all know of me, but it happened. I’ve been transformed into a schmoopy girl for real. And you have Katherine Center to thank. Cass 5 Sappy Stars! An Unputdownable, Funny, Fabulous and Sweet novel, that will end up on my Best of List for 2018! How do I love Thee? Let me tell you the ways! “Things You Save in a Fire” turned me into a complete mush. Yes, it’s true and I admit it. I know, I know, it’s unbelievable right? Roll your eyes at me, go ahead - it seems utterly preposterous given what you all know of me, but it happened. I’ve been transformed into a schmoopy girl for real. And you have Katherine Center to thank. Cassie Hanwell is a Firefighter. She isn’t exactly great with people but she’s awesome at her job. Austin has been her home for years now and she loves it there. When her mom, who is in bad health, calls her requesting that she go back home to Massachusetts, Cassie feels that she has no choice. She plans to give it a year. Fight fires, and do what it takes to care for the mom who abandoned her when she was Sixteen, that’s it. What she didn’t plan for is meeting the Rookie. You know what they say about plans don’t you? What made “Things You Save in a Fire” so great you ask? Well, it’s completely and totally HILARIOUS. I started reading this in public and broke into hysterical laughter within the first few pages. People at Starbucks stopped conversations to stare at me. It happened again just a few minutes later and I actually had to put my head down because I was laughing so hard my body was shaking (it was then that I knew, that reading this novel in public might not be the best idea). In addition, every moment of this novel felt like real life. I was completely and totally immersed because I identified with so much of what Cassie was going through. For as many times as I laughed hysterically, there were just as many where I ached for Cassie. Her pain tore through me and my chest caught. My stomach felt as though it was filled with needles and then, well, the crying commenced. And then of course, there’s the Rookie. Sigh. Yeah, that guy was the real deal. Schmoop City! Cassie however, doesn’t do relationships. In fact, she thinks their dumb! The fact is, Cassie certainly doesn’t let people in and she never lets people hug her yet for some reason she can’t get the Rookie out of her mind. Funny how that works. In the end, “Things You Save in a Fire” swept me off of my feet. It has great, believable characters, heartfelt, realistic writing and fantastic storytelling. This book is simply unputdownable. It is endearing, funny, fabulous and sweet. This was a buddy read with Kaceey! We absolutely LOVED this book. To say we loved it doesn’t even begin to describe our feelings. Laughter, tears, and lots of smiles ensued while reading this. So glad I got to read this one with you Kace! A huge thank you to Jordan at St. Martin’s Press for recommending and passing along this book! It will definitely appear on my Goodreads Best of list for 2018. Thank you also to Katherine Center for this fabulous read. I can’t wait to read How to Walk Away, which we have coming up soon. Published on Goodreads 12.13.18. Except to be Published on Instagram. Will be published on Twitter and Amazon on release date.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    3.75 stars Super sweet love story that made this cynic both cringe and smile! Things You Save in a Fire is about a woman who must learn to forgive in order to love. Cassie, a 26-year-old firefighter in Austin Texas, has faced a lot of adversity in her life. On her 16th birthday, her mother left her father and Cassie for another man, which led to further tragedy. Furthermore, being a woman in a male-dominated profession, she has had to fight her way to acceptance. So when her estranged mother 3.75 stars Super sweet love story that made this cynic both cringe and smile! Things You Save in a Fire is about a woman who must learn to forgive in order to love. Cassie, a 26-year-old firefighter in Austin Texas, has faced a lot of adversity in her life. On her 16th birthday, her mother left her father and Cassie for another man, which led to further tragedy. Furthermore, being a woman in a male-dominated profession, she has had to fight her way to acceptance. So when her estranged mother asks Cassie to come care for her outside of Boston while she adjusts to going blind, it should be an easy transition for Cassie. But when she arrives in Lillian at her new firehouse, she faces challenges she never thought she would experience--including learning to forgive and accept love. Things You Save in a Fire was exactly what I needed! It’s light and happy but also has some depth. There’s a lot to love: I especially loved Cassie’s character. It was refreshing to have a strong, independent female protagonist not fall for losers. I admired how she didn’t back down from challenges and loved seeing her best the guys at the firehouse. I also loved her relationship with her mother. Cassie’s relationship with the rookie was sweet, I just wish it hadn’t been so rushed towards the end. Onto my cynical side: There were times, especially when Cassie made grand declarations of love when I was groaning aloud and had to cover my eyes (which makes it hard to read!). The proposal scene was especially hard to take. I know, I know. I am just that person! Everything just came together too quickly and too neatly. At the same time, these were some very sweet and endearing moments that felt authentic. As for some of the others, my brain just has trouble processing them as reality. Overall this is an easy and enjoyable read, even for those who are cynics at heart! I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    4.5 Stars Cassie Hanwell is one strong cookie! She must be - she is the only female firefighter at her station. To prove herself, she must be better, faster, and harder working than her male counterparts. She works in a male dominated field...how male dominated? I did some research and found that "There are 1.16 million firefighters in the United States, but only 7 percent are women according to the National Fire Protection Association." That's a big gap and Cassie feels it in this book! Cassie i 4.5 Stars Cassie Hanwell is one strong cookie! She must be - she is the only female firefighter at her station. To prove herself, she must be better, faster, and harder working than her male counterparts. She works in a male dominated field...how male dominated? I did some research and found that "There are 1.16 million firefighters in the United States, but only 7 percent are women according to the National Fire Protection Association." That's a big gap and Cassie feels it in this book! Cassie is a complete professional when dealing with emergencies, high stress situations and tragedies on the job. In her personal life - not so much. You see, Cassie doesn't have a personal life. She doesn't date, she doesn't hang out, she doesn't really have friends, she's not looking for a boyfriend, she fills her life with work and responsibility. She is torn when she receives a call from her estranged and ailing Mother. A mother who left when Cassie was a teenager, a Mother she has spent years being angry with. A Mother she blamed. But when an incident occurs at an awards ceremony, Cassie decides to transfer to a new firehouse outside of Boston so that she can work while helping her Mother. Once again, she is one of the newest members at a fire-station that isn’t too happy to have a female there. She is subjected to hazing and must prove herself and her abilities as a firefighter. She knew it would be hard staring over, she was mentally prepared for that. What she wasn't prepared for was the feelings she began to experience when she met the Rookie, Owen Callahan. Her old chief gave her strict instructions: Never date a firefighter It doesn't help that the two newbies get paired up for everything. She can't escape him or her feelings. She also can't escape her feelings about being around her Mother. Forgiveness is a theme in this book. Forging others. Forging yourself. That being vulnerable does not make you weak and that giving someone a second chance can turn everything around. I loved how this book was about relationships in various forms - friendships, relationships with co-workers, relationships between a parent and their child, romantic relationships, etc. I also loved the theme of forgiveness and the path the characters choose to go on in terms of forgiveness. I also loved how Cassie was a strong female character who changed and grew over the course of this book. She had flaws, she had pain, she had sadness and anger, she also had courage, heart, and determination. She felt real/believable. What she was feeling and how she re-acted to situations made sense. I enjoy romances and this was so much more than that. It contained great likable (and some not so likable) characters, a great theme, and the growth of the characters. This was a captivating and engaging book. It is beautifully written and grabbed my attention right away. I rooted for several of the characters and loved every single page. Plus, it did not feel rushed at all and it had an epilogue! YES! Plus, there is a little nod to the accident from How to Walk Away which I thought was a nice touch. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This is my first book by Ms. Center and it was like a breath of fresh air for me. I had been reading an extremely heartbreaking and soul searching type of book when I knew I needed something to lift me up. This book was just the ticket! Cassie Hanwell had been settling in and working fine with the Austin fire department. She loved her job, she was finally getting the respect she deserved and the firefighters were a great group of guys. “Anyone who’d seen our rainbow flag flying ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This is my first book by Ms. Center and it was like a breath of fresh air for me. I had been reading an extremely heartbreaking and soul searching type of book when I knew I needed something to lift me up. This book was just the ticket! Cassie Hanwell had been settling in and working fine with the Austin fire department. She loved her job, she was finally getting the respect she deserved and the firefighters were a great group of guys. “Anyone who’d seen our rainbow flag flying, or shopped at one of our vegan/kosher bake sales, or seen our fire marshal tooling around in a Prius knew we were a progressive department”. Everything was going great until, she learned she was going to be presented with a valor award, she had pretty much single handedly saved children who had been trapped in a school bus after an accident. Her small stature made her the only one who was small enough to climb through the bus window and hand the kids out one at a time. So what went wrong? Well it was the presenter of the award, the one man in her life who she had hoped never to cross paths with again, let alone receive an award from and having to shake his hand. She managed to make it up to the stage but when when Heath Thompson, city councilman, decided to make a pass, Cassie lost it, basically pummeled the man. She was given an option after that, be terminated or choose another department far away. Cassie’s mother left her when she was 16 and she had been living with her father ever since. Now Diana has called for her help, she has lost vision in one eye and the other is failing. She would like Cassie to come to stay with her in Massachusetts, “not forever, a year at most.”. So she is transferred to a new fire department in Lillian. This new department is a far cry from Austin, it is old, the trucks and equipment are the bare minimum and the firemen are a different breed also. They aren’t hostile but they definitely don’t feel comfortable having a woman firefighter around. Through the life she begins to share with her mother and the new crew that she forges friendships with, we see how Cassie grows as an individual. She finally has a love interest after being lonely for most of her life. We learn the reasons why she has distanced herself from her mother and why she “lost it” at the award ceremony, what Heath Thompson did to her when she was 16. The character development in this novel is top notch and I am still thinking about them now. The plot at times is a bit predictable but it doesn’t matter, the feel of the entire book is positive. It focuses on forgiveness of others and yourself, something that most of us struggle with from time to time. Many types of relationships are touched upon, mother daughter, father daughter, friends, co-workers. I loved this book! This book is set to be published on August 13, 2019. I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    5 stars ““It’s not the easy moments that define who we are. It’s the hard ones.” This is my second book by Katherine Center (the first was ‘Happiness for Beginners) and this one also blew me away. It’s safe to say Centers is an author that just does it for me. Her writing and storytelling has this ability to draw me in and her books become instant favorites for me. After reading this, my heart was so full and I couldn’t stop smiling. It wasn’t an easy read from start to finish. There wer 5 stars ““It’s not the easy moments that define who we are. It’s the hard ones.” This is my second book by Katherine Center (the first was ‘Happiness for Beginners) and this one also blew me away. It’s safe to say Centers is an author that just does it for me. Her writing and storytelling has this ability to draw me in and her books become instant favorites for me. After reading this, my heart was so full and I couldn’t stop smiling. It wasn’t an easy read from start to finish. There were some parts that were really emotional and difficult, but I loved it so much. Cassie Hanwell is a kick-ass firefighter who’s on her way to the top in her firehouse in Texas. When a few unexpected things happen, she moves to a smaller town outside of Boston to help her mother. She joins the fire station there and things aren’t like they were in Texas. In Texas, she wasn’t the only woman firefighter. She was respected and treated as an equal among the men. Here at her new fire station… not so much Cassie is experienced and knows more than a lot of the firefighters there, but she still has to prove herself to these guys. She starts with a rookie and ends up with him a lot. He becomes her person on the crew, as much as she doesn’t want that to happen. I loved the rookie so much. He was by far my favorite character in this book. I fell in love with his charming and sweet character and I loved how he treated Cassie. One thing I truly love about Katherine Center’s books is the way she writes such a beautiful love story without it being the focus or most important part of the story. I love a good romance more than most, but sometimes it’s nice to read a book that has other elements as well. This book was about love, but it also was about healing, finding yourself, growth, strength, and family. It was heartwarming and had some heavy hitting topics, but was also funny at times and felt more lighthearted in certain scenes. It was such a wonderful read for me and I can’t recommend it enough! “Choosing to love—despite all the ways that people let you down, and disappear, and break your heart. Knowing everything we know about how hard life is and choosing to love, anyway.. That’s not weakness, that’s courage.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    It’s all about forgiveness. Even when you tell yourself you can’t… life might just surprise you! Occasionally, a book can reach deeply, touching you profoundly. The best part is you never see it coming! This book had me smiling, crying then smiling once again through my tears. Cassie is a tough-as-nails firefighter. She’s got to be. She’s working in a typically male dominated field, and they never let her forget it. But hands down, Cassie is the best at what she does. So driven in fact, her private It’s all about forgiveness. Even when you tell yourself you can’t… life might just surprise you! Occasionally, a book can reach deeply, touching you profoundly. The best part is you never see it coming! This book had me smiling, crying then smiling once again through my tears. Cassie is a tough-as-nails firefighter. She’s got to be. She’s working in a typically male dominated field, and they never let her forget it. But hands down, Cassie is the best at what she does. So driven in fact, her private life takes a major backseat. Actually, it’s nonexistent. She does not date! She does not do romance! Cassie left her life behind in Austin to look after her mother in Massachusetts. That means she must once again prove her mettle to both her new station, and herself. Maybe it’s time for new beginnings… professionally and personally. Cassie must learn some most valuable lessons if she hopes to move forward. More specifically, how to incorporate a sense of forgiveness into her no-nonsense life. To rise above and forgive others along the way…and perhaps in return, the chance to forgive and heal herself. Maybe I just learned a little bit about forgiveness too. Katherine Center has written a true-to-life, heartwarming story that will touch every reader fortunate enough to pick this gem up. From the most hardened of hearts to the hopelessly mushy reader. There are so many wonderful soul-searching moments within this read that there will be more than a few that stand out and speak to you. This was my first read from this author and can’t wait to back-track and get my hands on her previous book. It was written from the heart... to the heart. If there is one book I would recommend above all others this year...it would be this one! Do not miss out! It is a must read! This was an incredible buddy-read with Susanne that has us still talking about it! Thank you to Jordan Hanley at St Martin’s Press for an ARC to read and review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    2.5 Sad to say, but I wouldn’t save this book in a fire Thought I’d like a light read, but man, this one took “light” to a whole new (low) level. Trite, predictable, and ultra-simplistic, I also found the book, in spots, embarrassing. Picture a Hallmark card that shows a female firefighter flexing her gigantic muscles while smiling and shouting, “Happy forgiveness”! This is the story of a feisty and expert firefighter named Cassie who falls in love. Other crew members include a Mr. Wonderful, a mom 2.5 Sad to say, but I wouldn’t save this book in a fire Thought I’d like a light read, but man, this one took “light” to a whole new (low) level. Trite, predictable, and ultra-simplistic, I also found the book, in spots, embarrassing. Picture a Hallmark card that shows a female firefighter flexing her gigantic muscles while smiling and shouting, “Happy forgiveness”! This is the story of a feisty and expert firefighter named Cassie who falls in love. Other crew members include a Mr. Wonderful, a mom with an eye patch, and a firehouse full of men who are nervous wrecks because they have to work with a woman. Mostly we’re inside Cassie’s boring head. Oh, don’t get me started! Almost everything about this book annoyed me. Okay, I’ll play nice and put a few little things in the Joy Jar. Joy Jar -Even though Cassie bugged me, I have to say she’s a good person, which makes her likeable. And she’s a superstar firefighter with a great track record for saving lives. -I liked the surprise scene at the awards ceremony at the beginning of the book. It was underplayed, though. I wanted more. -Loved the scene where the firefighters were putting out a tough fire. It was well-written and exciting, and I was glued to the page. There are some big turn-offs, though. Sigh, I must drag out the Complaint Board. Complaint Board Stop showing off! Cassie is as strong as an ox. Okay, that’s pretty cool (if you’re into people being physically strong, which I am not). Cassie gets busy showing off to the guys just how much better she is at, well, everything. Damn straight! She does 11 one-handed pull-ups (!) and that puts those men in their place all right. Oh, and she puts them to shame at basketball, too. She truly is a wonder woman. Showing off is so obnoxious to me, I don’t care what gender you are. The vibe here was, of course, girls are just as good as boys, so there! Cassie seemed like a 5-year-old, yelling, “I’m just as good as you are, Mr. penis head!” I like it when females KNOW they’re just as good, when they don’t feel like they have to prove anything, when they aren’t pitting themselves against the opposite sex, when they’re just doing their own thing. I don’t like wars. Cassie showing up the guys at work isn’t going to raise the men’s consciousness, I don’t believe. Oh, god, please don’t go all girly! Cassie was supposed to be Ms. Independent Woman who “didn’t need no man,” and then suddenly she turned all girly girly when Mr. Dreamboat appeared. Who would have thunk it? Oh, he’s so cute. Oh isn’t their silent and secret love adorable? Oh aren’t Cassie’s giggly thoughts, her fluttering heart, her jelly-ness, just oh so precious, too? Gag me with a spoon! It was sickening to watch her swoon. Cassie herself doesn’t like it that she’s all girly, but she apparently can’t help herself. The fact that a grown woman turns into a hormonal preteen is beyond obnoxious to me. Some guy turns you on, great. Go for it. You don’t have to fall apart and act silly. (She did hide her feelings, but we had a front-row seat to watch what was going on inside her silly head. Lucky us.) To make it worse, there’s a puke-worthy scene when she’s getting dressed up to go on a date. I don’t want to read about primping for a date, I really don’t. Doesn’t interest me in the least. Come on, can you really forgive? I know you’re supposed to forgive, but in most cases I think it’s unnatural. I just can’t get with the forgiveness program, I just can’t. Telling me to forgive is like telling me to calm down—not a chance in hell. (And the poor person who suggests that I do? I may not ever forgive them, lol). I have trouble believing that forgiveness works for anyone, but I’m probably just jaded. Cassie forgave two people in her life. I did understand her forgiving one of them, but forgiving the other person was ludicrous, and it really riled me up. Nope, don’t believe how you acted around the problem firefighter. I didn’t believe Cassie’s reaction to him. I can’t go into details, but I can say this: I don’t believe she figured out the problem, I don’t believe she arrived when she did, I don’t believe she got him to do what she wanted. That storyline felt all wrong. A non-Cassie-related complaint: The language and internal monologues are just too sophomoric. In fact, I would be curious to learn what the reading level would be for this book. Middle school, maybe? I know I sound so curmudgeonly. You probably all don’t believe me, but I really do like to read an occasional romance. This one just didn’t cut it; too Hallmark-y and trite. Remember, though, I’m the outlier here. Most people thought it was a decent beach read; I would have buried it in the sand and called it a day. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars, rounded up. Add Katherine Center to the list of authors I've discovered this year whose work has utterly wowed me. Between her newest book and How to Walk Away , which I read earlier this year (see my review), I've become a big fan while becoming emotionally unglued. Because that's how I roll, y'all! Cassie has always been tough as nails. As one of very few female firefighters at her Austin firehouse, she knows that she has to do everything better, be stronger, faster, and tougher, a 4.5 stars, rounded up. Add Katherine Center to the list of authors I've discovered this year whose work has utterly wowed me. Between her newest book and How to Walk Away , which I read earlier this year (see my review), I've become a big fan while becoming emotionally unglued. Because that's how I roll, y'all! Cassie has always been tough as nails. As one of very few female firefighters at her Austin firehouse, she knows that she has to do everything better, be stronger, faster, and tougher, and never show one ounce of emotion. It's something she's been comfortable with since her mother abandoned her and her father on Cassie's 16th birthday. Cassie has never really let anyone get too close to her, because vulnerability means weakness in her book. But on a night that should be one of her proudest achievements, Cassie's carefully constructed façade cracks, and the results are shocking, to say the least, to those who know her best. She creates quite a mess for herself—so much so that when her estranged mother calls and asks her to move to Boston for a year to help her through some serious health issues, Cassie ignores her gut instincts and agrees. But she makes it perfectly clear that she's not there to reminisce or be friends with her mother, she's only there to help. "I reminded myself again that she was only Diana. Of course, our parents get an extra dose of importance in our minds. When we're little, they're everything—the gods and goddesses that rule our worlds. It takes a lot of growing up, and a lot of disappointment, to accept that they're just normal, bumbling, mistaken humans, like everybody else." Cassie takes a job in the small town of Lillian, a town which has never had a female firefighter and isn't interested in one. In fact, the captain thinks female firefighters may very well lead to the decline of Western civilization. So once again, she's bound and determined to do everything better than any of the men on the squad, and not allow them to treat her like a girl. She ignores the hazing, the teasing, and those who want to see her fail, and she outdoes them at every turn. The one thing she can't seem to ignore, however, is the rookie—Owen Callaghan, son of a retired firefighter, who joined the squad in Lillian the same day Cassie did. Sure he's good-looking, fit, and can cook like nobody's business, but Cassie knows she is a better firefighter and EMT than he is. But why does her stomach flip every time she seems him? It's not like she hasn't worked around gorgeous men before, but for some reason, she can't get him out of her mind, and it doesn't help that they get paired up for everything. Cassie came to Lillian to work, not to date, and besides, dating a fellow firefighter is career suicide. That's the one main thing her captain in Austin told her before Cassie left—never date firefighters. So no matter what, she's just going to ignore the rookie and treat him like one of the guys. Because in Cassie's eyes, love equals vulnerability, which equals failure. If you've spent your entire life guarding yourself from any sign of weakness, keeping everyone at arm's length, can you be truly happy? Which is harder, forgiving someone for hurting you or forgiving yourself? How do you decide whether it's worth risking everything you've built your life around to pursue something that might not work out, and might hurt you? Things You Save in a Fire is one of those books where you can probably guess most (if not all) of what will happen, but it doesn't matter one iota, because you're totally hooked. Once again, Center creates vulnerable, likable, relatable characters and makes you care about them, makes you root for them, makes you angry when roadblocks occur, and makes you fearful that something bad will befall these characters you've come to know. This is a book about how the walls we build to protect ourselves often keep more people out than we realize, and before we know it, we're safe but alone. This is a book about realizing that being a little vulnerable doesn't mean you're still not tough or brave, and it's also a book about when you know it's right to sacrifice what you want for those you care about. Like any story where matters of the heart, family issues, and relationships are dealt with, Things You Save in a Fire is moving at times, a little poignant, and you might find something is in your eye once or twice. But this is one of those books that wins you over from the very first page, and doesn't let up, so it's worth a few tears (at least). NetGalley and St. Martin's Press provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    I have so many feelings about this book, I don't even know where to start. First and foremost, I loved every single minute of it. From the very first page until the very last page. Sometimes you pick up a book and the writers style just speaks to you. This is what I felt with this book. I wondered if it would live up to the hype, the answer is yes! This is one of my very favorites that I have read this year. Things you Save in a Fire is a book that addresses so much. The struggles of a woman in a I have so many feelings about this book, I don't even know where to start. First and foremost, I loved every single minute of it. From the very first page until the very last page. Sometimes you pick up a book and the writers style just speaks to you. This is what I felt with this book. I wondered if it would live up to the hype, the answer is yes! This is one of my very favorites that I have read this year. Things you Save in a Fire is a book that addresses so much. The struggles of a woman in a man's profession. Life, love, highs and lows. This book has it all! I think why I connected so much with this book is that I got it. I really got it. I am an Emergency Room nurse and I work with paramedics and EMT's every single day. SO I get them. This book is spot on. I mean it is not a wonder as the author's husband is a firefighter/EMT that she would know the real deal. The real deal is they are a wonderful, caring, funny as hell, fun group of people that put their lives on the line every day for you, me and your family. As Cassie stated many times they have second jobs and this is how I know so many of them, they work with me. I have been the "victim" of many of pranks. This book made me laugh so much as I thought yep that is how they roll. You have to have a sense of humor when you deal with so much death and disturbing details. As Cassie was forced to deal with the struggles of being a girl in a man's profession my heart broke for her many times. This girl is strong though and she knew what she wanted. She existed in life to be a firefighter. Her job was her identity. She put it first and foremost before everything. Then enters The Rookie........rule #1 don't ever date another firefighter. Repeat...don't do it. This book left me a hot mess as I tore through it in less than a day. I laughed, was on edge and it almost brought me to tears. You must read this book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    5 bold and fiery stars! 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 (Now includes full review for pub day tomorrow 8/13!) Cassie Hanwell is one of the few female firefighters in her firehouse, and she handles emergencies like a champ. One day Cassie’s life is thrown off kilter when her mother asks her to leave Texas behind and move to Boston. Why? Because her mother she rarely sees or talks to needs care. Being a good daughter, Cassie transfers to a Boston firehouse. The change is hard. She’s now the only female, and the firehous 5 bold and fiery stars! 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 (Now includes full review for pub day tomorrow 8/13!) Cassie Hanwell is one of the few female firefighters in her firehouse, and she handles emergencies like a champ. One day Cassie’s life is thrown off kilter when her mother asks her to leave Texas behind and move to Boston. Why? Because her mother she rarely sees or talks to needs care. Being a good daughter, Cassie transfers to a Boston firehouse. The change is hard. She’s now the only female, and the firehouse is not well-funded, along with being known for hazing. She finds it hard to connect to any of her crew… Until she meets a charming rookie. She’s been told not to date firefighters, so Cassie tries her best to keep a boundary. She needs one because she works so hard to be taken seriously. But her resolve slips… Katherine Center has her own signature style. Her books are easy-to-read, fun, engaging, with always lovable, endearing characters. Cassie’s story is bold and fiery (pardon the pun!), and it delivers warm fuzzies on every level when you reach the end. If you ever need a pick-me-up read, one that will leave you feeling better than when you started, Katherine Center is your go-to. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. ———- This one won’t be out until summer, so my review will come closer to pub date, but until then, every single star to this emotional, but uplifting story. Katherine Center has her own style...one I love...Easy to read, fun, engaging, lovable characters...It has it all. If you enjoy domestic fiction, don’t miss this one!

  14. 5 out of 5

    chan ☆

    this book was not life changing but it didn't need to be. i decided to read the 10 finalists in the 2019 goodreads choice awards for the category of romance. (reading the romance finalists for the 2019 goodreads choice awards ) i'm not gonna lie there were a lot of fcking stinkers. and this one by comparison, was not. i went in with low expectations because from the cover and synopsis i thought this was going to be a really irritating chicklit novel but i was pleasantly surprised. this reminded me this book was not life changing but it didn't need to be. i decided to read the 10 finalists in the 2019 goodreads choice awards for the category of romance. (reading the romance finalists for the 2019 goodreads choice awards ) i'm not gonna lie there were a lot of fcking stinkers. and this one by comparison, was not. i went in with low expectations because from the cover and synopsis i thought this was going to be a really irritating chicklit novel but i was pleasantly surprised. this reminded me a lot, thematically, of The Simple Wild by KA Tucker. it'd be a spoiler to tell you why, but there is a big focus on family relationships and healing along with a romantic component. since i was really viewing it through that lens while i read, i grew to appreciate the romantic relationship more. i'm sorry but jonah from the simple wild was a dick. owen on the other hand was a precious fcking bostonian prince. was the romantic relationship hella developed and nuanced? no. but it didn't need to be. and i liked the message about healing from trauma. idk i'm incoherent today but i enjoyed this. nothing special, but comforting.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Irina

    "It's amazing how brave you can be when you feel safe." I'm not the type of person that will cry while reading a book but this changed when I started reading this. I don't know why I felt so emotional but this story moved me. Just thinking about it makes my heart squeeze. While I absolutely loved the story between Cassie and Owen I think the really love story was between Cassie and her mom. Everything about their relationship is so beautiful and at the same time powerful. The way that the autho "It's amazing how brave you can be when you feel safe." I'm not the type of person that will cry while reading a book but this changed when I started reading this. I don't know why I felt so emotional but this story moved me. Just thinking about it makes my heart squeeze. While I absolutely loved the story between Cassie and Owen I think the really love story was between Cassie and her mom. Everything about their relationship is so beautiful and at the same time powerful. The way that the author portrayed the relationships in this book is utterly and beautifully believable. Highly recommend you read this one because it's a beautiful story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    This is a wonderful piece of contemporary fiction from Katherine Center, full of warmth, featuring the strong, independent, and extremely capable Cassie Hanwell. A firefighter extraordinaire, so brave and up for an award for valour at which all her crew from the modern and progressive Austin FD are present, both to support and prank her at the event. However, Cassie's night is knocked for six when the mayor is unable to present the award and in his place is a man from her nightmare past, council This is a wonderful piece of contemporary fiction from Katherine Center, full of warmth, featuring the strong, independent, and extremely capable Cassie Hanwell. A firefighter extraordinaire, so brave and up for an award for valour at which all her crew from the modern and progressive Austin FD are present, both to support and prank her at the event. However, Cassie's night is knocked for six when the mayor is unable to present the award and in his place is a man from her nightmare past, council man Heath Thompson, all of which leads to events that are to spoil her evening and place her in a difficult position at work. Cassie's mom, Lily, has got in touch to ask her to come help her for up to a year due to her eye problems. Cassie has never forgiven her mom ever since she left her father for another man on her 16th birthday, a day that has left indelible traumatic marks in her memories as she is to suffer further trauma and horror. Cassie refuses to even consider the requisite apology required after award night, despite the fact it means missing out on a huge promotion and leaving her present job in Austin. This propels her apprehensive move to Boston, Massachusetts, to live with Lily, having every intention to help but not get emotionally close to her. She takes up a position as the first woman firefighter at the dilapidated and poorly equipped Lillian Fire Department. Starting on the same day is rookie, Owen Callaghan, Cassie has to prove herself again and again, face hazing and constant pranking, and tasked with training up the rookie. Cassie has never had any problems in closing herself off from any emotional entanglements since she was 16, but for the first time she feels her barriers fall away as she falls for the rookie, but a relationship is out of the question, she had been warned by her Captain at Austin. Cassie finds she did not know the circumstances her mother found herself on her 16th birthday. She walks into unfamiliar territory as she starts to succumb to hugs, tentatively move into the necessary but difficult process of implementing forgiveness into her life and contemplate a real relationship for the first time in her life. Katherine Center writes a beautiful and emotionally engaging novel with her feisty but traumatised Cassie. Cassie has to face the doubts of her male colleagues who need some persuading that a woman can be a competent firefighter, and her life is littered with obstacles and challenges, both personal and professional, not to mention having to deal with a malicious stalker. In a narrative full of warmth and humour, we see Cassie address her emotional traumas, have to cope with her mom's health issues, and begin to understand the power and joy of love. This is a lovely and entertaining novel which I so enjoyed reading. Many thanks to St Martin’s Press for an ARC.

  17. 5 out of 5

    marilyn

    I wouldn't mind living in this world that twenty six year old Cassie lives in, being a neighbor to her, her mother, and her mother's friend, Josie. But before firefighter Cassie goes to live with her mother in the Boston, she is living in Austin, TX with her dad and getting recognition for saving a busload of kids from drowning when a school bus overturns. When it turns out that the person presenting her the award is a person from her high school, a very very bad person, and he grabs her butt as I wouldn't mind living in this world that twenty six year old Cassie lives in, being a neighbor to her, her mother, and her mother's friend, Josie. But before firefighter Cassie goes to live with her mother in the Boston, she is living in Austin, TX with her dad and getting recognition for saving a busload of kids from drowning when a school bus overturns. When it turns out that the person presenting her the award is a person from her high school, a very very bad person, and he grabs her butt as he hands her the award, Cassie whacks him on the head with the award and then continues to beat the tar out of him. There isn't much her employers can do to cover over this situation except to transfer Cassie to a fire station that is so very desperate for hands that they will hire a woman (horrors!). At the same time, Cassie's estranged Boston based mom has begged her to come live with her for the next year. All the sudden Cassie can save face and say she will come because she has a new job in Boston, NOT because she is coming because her mom begged her to do so. This book has romance and this book has cuteness and this book made me smile. I loved Cassie and her very real toughness and natural ability (that she worked very hard to hone) as a firefighter. She is the best of the best and even folks who might not want her there have to admit that she is the best, she is what the station needs. At the same time she is hired at the Boston station, a newcomer is hired who everybody calls Rookie. Against everything she believes in and things she wants for herself and her life, Cassie is instantly attracted to Rookie and this means she must avoid him as much as possible. Instead her boss throws them together all the time, with Cassie being the best person to train Rookie. One of my favorite people in this book, beside Cassie (and Rookie), is Cassie's mom. She made me smile everytime we see her in the book. She did something on Cassie's 16th birthday that hurt Cassie and that Cassie can never forgive. But this book is all about forgiveness, forgiveness of others and forgiveness of oneself. And the forgiveness isn't for the other person, it's for the person who needs to forgive, needs to let go of all that resentment and hate and hurt that festers for so long and ruins the life of the person holding onto those things. This was such a feel good book for me despite the fact that it deals with so many difficult issues. But that's the thing, with forgiveness, the issues don't go away but they can lose their ability to hurt someone forever and that's a good lesson to learn. I liked learning this lesson while enjoying the story and the people in the story. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    This was such a charming, humorous, and touching story. I didn't want it to end! I found this author's writing style to be perfectly balanced in introducing the characters and making me instantly care about them. I wanted to learn more about what made them "who they are" and react the way they did. This author has such a  "easy, breezy style"  that made this book so easy to fall in love with. Cassie is a female fire-firefighter working in an all male fire station, so you can probably imagin This was such a charming, humorous, and touching story. I didn't want it to end! I found this author's writing style to be perfectly balanced in introducing the characters and making me instantly care about them. I wanted to learn more about what made them "who they are" and react the way they did. This author has such a  "easy, breezy style"  that made this book so easy to fall in love with. Cassie is a female fire-firefighter working in an all male fire station, so you can probably imagine some of the sticky situations that developed.  The romance offered just the right amounts of sweetness, stubbornness, and laugh-out loud humor. The mystery element was also such a plus for my own love of any type of a search for who-dunnit and it added some good suspense. This one absolutely  sparkled  with themes of hope, love, forgiveness, healing and a overpowering message to live life to its fullest. Can you tell that I absolutely fell for this one? Highly recommend! Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. Book will be out in August 2019. Blog review closer to publication date.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Ok, I’ll admit it. I requested this book purely because I loved the title. But as I read the first few pages, I was second guessing myself. Was this going to be some sort of romance fluff? The answer is unfortunately, yes. Now, if you’re into that, I guess this is a decent one. The book blurb says it’s about family and forgiveness. And there is some of that. But it’s really mostly about romance, the head over heels infatuation kind. Cassie is a strong, no nonsense, firefighter who’s risen like a Ok, I’ll admit it. I requested this book purely because I loved the title. But as I read the first few pages, I was second guessing myself. Was this going to be some sort of romance fluff? The answer is unfortunately, yes. Now, if you’re into that, I guess this is a decent one. The book blurb says it’s about family and forgiveness. And there is some of that. But it’s really mostly about romance, the head over heels infatuation kind. Cassie is a strong, no nonsense, firefighter who’s risen like a speeding bullet through the Austin TX fire department. Until she makes a bad move at an awards ceremony. No spoilers, but that was the highlight of the book for me. Timing wise, the incident comes at the same time as her mom asks her to move to New England to help her out. The fire department there is still lodged firmly in the 1950s. The firefighters aren’t out and out misogynist, as Cassie says they act “in a chivalrous, slightly patronizing way”. Where the author does a good job is in describing the mind of a firefighter and what the job is like. I am the antithesis of a romance fan, so do not let my review dissuade you if you like the genre. If you like sweet, Hallmark style love stories with a bit of morality thrown in, this one’s for you. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    4.5 rounded to 5 stars Are you in need of a fabulous reading boost? Perhaps you are looking to recover from a heavy-duty tome or trying your darnedest to break out of a reading slump. Or maybe you just in the mood for a nice feel good novel. If any of these scenarios apply to you, then this is the book you want to grab. Things You Save in a Fire is about Cassie Hanwell, a young woman firefighter trying to break through some pretty steep emotional barriers she has tried to bury ever since a very tr 4.5 rounded to 5 stars Are you in need of a fabulous reading boost? Perhaps you are looking to recover from a heavy-duty tome or trying your darnedest to break out of a reading slump. Or maybe you just in the mood for a nice feel good novel. If any of these scenarios apply to you, then this is the book you want to grab. Things You Save in a Fire is about Cassie Hanwell, a young woman firefighter trying to break through some pretty steep emotional barriers she has tried to bury ever since a very traumatic 16th birthday ten years previous. Her issues are complex and seem almost impossible to overcome. On top of that, for circumstances basically out of her control, she is forced to leave her firefighter job in Austin, TX, the only thing she loves and can identify with, and move out East. This book pulled me in from the start when I developed an instant connection with Cassie. Though the prose is simple, the story is highly engaging, making it difficult to put the book down for any length of time. Cassie finds herself in an array of challenging situations, which slowly but surely add up and point her towards redemption, forgiveness, and a better way of living. This novel is a notch above many of the women's fiction stories that I have read. Cassie’s journey to find herself is enriched by an interesting cast of characters, a sweet romance, and several life lessons--the most important probably being that there is no totally happily ever after for anyone in life, making it imperative to appreciate and savor all the good things that do happen. The power of forgiveness is also a strong theme. Simple principles all, but told in beautifully emotive fashion. I now see the reasons for all the 5-star ratings my friends have been awarding this book. I highly recommend Things You Save in a Fire to all readers looking for a fast, but meaningful read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    After reading a book that I love I usually always have a lull in reading. Who we kidding? The whole last two years has been a lull for me. I always just want something that is enjoyable and easy to read after that type of book. I just usually have a hard time finding it and end up one starring stuff. This is that type book. And I liked it. I liked it a lot. I gave up sleep for this book. Sleep is one of my favorite things. The book is centered on a female firefighter (Cassie) who gets in a bit After reading a book that I love I usually always have a lull in reading. Who we kidding? The whole last two years has been a lull for me. I always just want something that is enjoyable and easy to read after that type of book. I just usually have a hard time finding it and end up one starring stuff. This is that type book. And I liked it. I liked it a lot. I gave up sleep for this book. Sleep is one of my favorite things. The book is centered on a female firefighter (Cassie) who gets in a bit of a hot mess back in her hometown of Texas. She loves the job though and does not want to start off again. Her estranged mom has called and wants her to spend a year 'helping her' after her eyesight is starting to go. Cassie agrees to do it just so she can keep doing what she loves. The move from Texas to Boston is totally new. She is living in a small house with her mom (who she has never forgiven for leaving) and the new fire department? Full of old school guys who don't think 'a lady' needs to be in their environment. Then Cassie sees the Rookie. He starts on the same day she does. He is not the picture perfect little firefighter that calendars are made of...but the dude saves puppies. *swoon* This is a cute little story. I was never bored. I liked the characters and even when it went on the mushy side I still didn't chunk it. Probably because I liked reading about a main character that kicks butts AND is female. Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    Wow! I loved this book! (Women's fiction with romantic elements.) The protagonist, Cassie, is a firefighter in Austin, TX, at a progressive, modern station. She’s honored for her valor, but at the event, she gets herself into some trouble. When the mother she’s estranged from asks her to come to a small town outside of Boston to help her because she’s ill, Cassie wants no part of it. But between getting in trouble and her beloved father’s urging, she agrees to transfer to an old-school firehouse Wow! I loved this book! (Women's fiction with romantic elements.) The protagonist, Cassie, is a firefighter in Austin, TX, at a progressive, modern station. She’s honored for her valor, but at the event, she gets herself into some trouble. When the mother she’s estranged from asks her to come to a small town outside of Boston to help her because she’s ill, Cassie wants no part of it. But between getting in trouble and her beloved father’s urging, she agrees to transfer to an old-school firehouse and help her mom out. Cassie is the first “lady” firefighter at the house, and the chief and the others don’t hide the fact the fact that they don’t believe women should be in the profession. All except a rookie firefighter who starts the same day she does. She has to be the best at everything to prove to her male colleagues she knows what she’s doing. She won’t let her attraction to the rookie derail her. I liked the romantic elements because there is a very legitimate reason she can’t fall for Owen. Her career would be over. Firefighters aren’t supposed to date other firefighters. A man might get away with it, but not a female. (Although here in Colorado I know a few male/female married firefighters, so that might just be a thing in certain parts of the country.) Initially I found Cassie a little hard to like. I’ve never read a book with such an angry protagonist. But the last half of the book was definitely a multi-tissue, ruin-my-makeup-cryfest. Read this book! Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES AUGUST 13, 2019. (Which is a long time to wait, I realize, but you’ll want to put it on your to-read list and check out her other books.) For more reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog

  23. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Some books leave you feeling better about the world and people in it. Either because their main message is that of love, hope, and forgiveness, or because they have amazing characters: strong, calm, caring. They put your feet a bit more firmly on the ground, because you recognize they are rooted in reality, and uplift you, help you raise your head and notice that despite everpresent tragedy and suffering, the world is full of beautiful souls, ready to lend a helping hand. This is one of these boo Some books leave you feeling better about the world and people in it. Either because their main message is that of love, hope, and forgiveness, or because they have amazing characters: strong, calm, caring. They put your feet a bit more firmly on the ground, because you recognize they are rooted in reality, and uplift you, help you raise your head and notice that despite everpresent tragedy and suffering, the world is full of beautiful souls, ready to lend a helping hand. This is one of these books... 26 year old Cassie Hanwell is a person you would like to have next to you in an emergency. She doesn't get scared (and if she does, she continues doing her job), she never panics- in fact, the opposite happens, when everybody else is freaking out, she gets calmer and more alert. Above all, Cassie lives to help and save oher people. All of this makes her one hell of a firefighter. One of the best and she knows it. That's why I didn't wind up an ER doc. You don't want me just after the emergency. You want me during the emergency. I am at my very best when things are at their very worst. When Cassie commits a potential career suicide by standing up for herself in front of a hundred person crowd during an award giving ceremony, she is given a choice: apologize to the despicable politician she had this very public 'interpersonal conflict' with and get a deserved promotion to a leutenant or have her contract with Austin Fire Department terminated. Only she can't do either of these things. Her job is 'her whole identity'. Cassie finds a third option -moving to Rockport, near Boston to help her estranged mother who has become half-blind. Her captain puts in a good word for her leaving until the very last 'the bad news' of Cassie being a woman. The new boss is desperate for anybody to fill the position, although he has a deep mistrust female-firefighters and won't make it easy for Cassie to start it all over at the new place. Cassie's brave and wise captain, knowing that Cassie has always been welcome and eased in all her firefighting jobs and doesn't really know what discrimination and hostility is, gives a few pieces of advice: No makeup, perfume or lady-scented deodorant, no jewelry. Cut your hair off-or keep it back. Make them less aware you're a girl whenever possible. Don't laugh out loud. Don't touch anybody for any reason. Don't use the upper registers of your voice. Don't sing. If you make eye contact, make it straight on, like a predator. Don't ask questions. Go above and beyond at every chance. Don't ever act afraid. Don't ever hesitate. Don't ever admit it when you don't understand- figure it out like a man. If you go up against anybody, make sure to win. No fear! If your hands start shaking, sit on them. Never admit to being hurt. Pain is for the weak. They will ignore you. They will exclude you. They will resent you. Working hard won't matter. Just by your very presence there, you are attacking them, trying to steal something that's rightfully theirs, tryingto infiltrate and dismantle their brotherhood. Don't have feelings. Don't talk about them, don't explore them, and for God's sake, whatever you do, don't cry...Do not sleep with firefighters. Because there's no faster way for you to go down in flames than to screw one of the guys. My best advice to you ? Find one person you can count on. Just one. Cassie is going to follow every single point on this long list, but for one. Unexpectedly for her, she is going to find that after years and years of loneliness and thinking that love was for the weak, she did need human connection, however much heartbreaking courage it took. She gradually re-establishes and re-defines her relationship with Diana, her mother, and finds out that not everything she believed about her mother abandoning Cassie and her Dad was true. By the time we reached each other, the resentment I'd been feeling had mixed with so many other feelings and impulses- sorrow, regret, loneliness, protectiveness, admiration, affection- that it became something else completely. Complicated. Diana teaches her something extremely valuable, something that will help Cassie not only survive, but actually live- forgiveness. I have to give Cassie credit. It isn't easy, and a lot of people would just close their mind to these words, and never face the hard task of trying to forgive your own gullible, naive 16 year old self. Cassie does try the three steps, described by her mother: acknowledge to yourself that someone hurt you and accept that. Accept that the person who hurt you is flawed, and try to understand them better. Look at what happened afterwards and find the positive things that came about, not just the hurt. Yes, you can laugh at Cassie's reply that the upside of her abandonment (and the other tragedy that happened on the same day) was getting freakishly good at basketball. But the truth is what happened that Cassie became herself: attuned to other people, good at seeing what is true and what is fake, being able to stand up for herself and others, good at learning from whatever life threw at her. also, knowing when to risk everything because the person you are risking it for is worth it. Like the Rookie,a.k.a. Owen Callaghan, her amazingly good-looking, smiley, kind-hearted, forbidden crush, her road to learning what true courage is. Choosing to love- despite all the ways that people let you down, and disappear, and break your heart. Knowing everything we know about haow hard life is and choosing to love anyway... That's not weakness. That's courage. Telling you more would be giving the story away, and I don't want to rob you of this heartwarming experience. You probably know by now that I'm in love with the author's ability to create strong, complex, believable characters. I'm also in love with her writing style and sense of humour. anybody who can give their lead character a childhood ambition of becoming the Tooth Fairy deserves a special award. That and making a seasoned firefighter join a Crotchet Club...There's also wonderful storytelling- there are twists and turns that will tug at your heartstrings, as well as other calmer scenes that show the stuff everyday life is made of. My favourite ones show the firefighters both at work and rest, including practical jokes well-meaning colleagues played on Cassie and the Rookie. I loved the way Cassie acknoweledged the differences between her progressive, well-equipped firehouse in Austin and the new situation, and quietly set out to finding ways of improving it. If it was a fantasy book, I'd give it five stars for the worldbuilding. As it isn't, I'll just acknowledge how fascinating it was to get a glimpse into what living this kind of life would be. I loved every minute of this book and was sorry to turn the last page. A wonderful, humorous story of love and forgiveness with a strong and endearing main lead, 'Things you save in a fire' is a book you won't forget. Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin's for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion. https://readingtonic.home.blog/

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Ooooooooooooof. I genuinely thought I was going to love this one and I am so bummed to say that that was very much not the case :( While I was gripped by this and wanted to keep reading to know what was going to happen, I really did not like the way ANY of the characters were written. The main character was CONSTANTLY hitting us over the head with the fact that she's ~*not like other girls*~ and every other character was an over-written sexist stereotype and it just... did not work for me. Womp Ooooooooooooof. I genuinely thought I was going to love this one and I am so bummed to say that that was very much not the case :( While I was gripped by this and wanted to keep reading to know what was going to happen, I really did not like the way ANY of the characters were written. The main character was CONSTANTLY hitting us over the head with the fact that she's ~*not like other girls*~ and every other character was an over-written sexist stereotype and it just... did not work for me. Womp x10000000 because I really thought Katherine Center was going to be a new favorite author for me. I'm SAD. TW: sexual assault, slut shaming, fat-phobic remarks, addiction, terminal illness, death of a loved one

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Katherine Center is pretty near perfect in my opinion. Things You Save in a Fire deals with gender, family, ethics, trauma, and forgiveness. It's engaging and activates a number of emotions across the board. I loved the characters, and I loved this book. Check it out. Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader's copy (ARC) of Things You Save in a Fire. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing. Source: NetGalley Author: Katherine Center Publisher: Katherine Center is pretty near perfect in my opinion. Things You Save in a Fire deals with gender, family, ethics, trauma, and forgiveness. It's engaging and activates a number of emotions across the board. I loved the characters, and I loved this book. Check it out. Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader's copy (ARC) of Things You Save in a Fire. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing. Source: NetGalley Author: Katherine Center Publisher: St. Martin's Press Genres: Women's Fiction Pub Date: August 13, 2019

  26. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    HOT DAMN! This book is on FIRE!!!🔥 Loved this engaging story from first word to last! The characters were wonderful, The romance was sweet, the friendships were strong, and I loved the firehouse setting! Cannot think of a better way to have kicked off my 2019 reads! 🔥 Full fiery review closer to pub day August 2019 👩🏻‍🚒❤️👨🏻‍🚒❤️ HOT DAMN! This book is on FIRE!!!🔥 Loved this engaging story from first word to last! The characters were wonderful, The romance was sweet, the friendships were strong, and I loved the firehouse setting! Cannot think of a better way to have kicked off my 2019 reads! 🔥 Full fiery review closer to pub day August 2019 👩🏻‍🚒❤️👨🏻‍🚒❤️

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! I've been trying to get down To the heart of the matter But everything changes And my friends seem to scatter But I think it's about forgiveness Forgiveness Even if, even if you don't love me anymore --The Heart of the Matter, Don Henley, Songwriters: Mike Campbell / Don Henley / John David Souther Cassie Hanwell is a firefighter for the city of Austin as this story begins. She lives, breathes, imbibes the gospel of firefighting, and all that goes with the territory. She sees !! NOW AVAILABLE !! I've been trying to get down To the heart of the matter But everything changes And my friends seem to scatter But I think it's about forgiveness Forgiveness Even if, even if you don't love me anymore --The Heart of the Matter, Don Henley, Songwriters: Mike Campbell / Don Henley / John David Souther Cassie Hanwell is a firefighter for the city of Austin as this story begins. She lives, breathes, imbibes the gospel of firefighting, and all that goes with the territory. She sees herself as strong, independent and accepted by this crew of men and women firefighters. It’s taken her ten years to get to this place, emotionally and physically. She’s nervously anticipating the service award which the mayor is going to present to her, when a last minute change in plans disrupts the event. And her life, as well. At the point in her life where most girls are on the verge of womanhood, their bodies developed or soon to be so, physical and emotional changes disrupting their social, emotional, familial lives, sixteen is a pivotal year. And on that day, her sixteenth birthday, Cassie’s mother leaves her husband and her daughter Cassie and moves away with another man. Angry and hurt, what she chooses to do that night ends up hurting her even more in the long run. She shuts her mother out of her life, as much as possible. When her mother calls her soon after the award event, telling her she wants, needs her to come to her home in Massachusetts, she is losing - has lost - sight in one eye, and needs her assistance, Cassie can’t believe she’s even asking. After numerous refusals to even think about it, Cassie acquiesces, and finds herself working for the Lillian Fire Department, a small town near Boston, and near her mother’s home. A fire department that has always been run by men, and only men, and would have remained that way if they hadn’t been desperately looking for two new recruits. There are many themes in this story, misogyny is unflinchingly front and center, but there are several themes that weave their way through this story, including love. But quietly ever-present in the background is the theme of forgiveness, the power of actually hearing others stories, and the peace that is attained by forgiving others, as well as ourselves. Pub Date: 13 Aug 2019 Many thanks for the ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book and provide an honest review! 4.5 Stars rounded up!! I was THRILLED when my request was approved for this book. At the time, I had not yet read, How to Walk Away, so I made it my mission to read that first. After having read it (loved it), I really looked forward to seeing if Ms. Center could repeat the success of the previous book. Being the Christmas season, it took me a little longer to get to this than I would Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book and provide an honest review! 4.5 Stars rounded up!! I was THRILLED when my request was approved for this book. At the time, I had not yet read, How to Walk Away, so I made it my mission to read that first. After having read it (loved it), I really looked forward to seeing if Ms. Center could repeat the success of the previous book. Being the Christmas season, it took me a little longer to get to this than I would have wanted, but I am so glad I was forced to wait. I have NO IDEA how I'm going to make it until her next book. Katherine Center has cemented herself as a go-to author for sure and I definitely plan on adding this to my bookcase full of 5 star books! I think what I admire so much about Center's work is that she writes feel good stories (and I'm sure some could say they have predictable plot points), but you are still glued to it from cover to cover. Her female characters are vulnerable, but fiercely capable and while things unfold you absolutely root for them to succeed. I like how there are flaws (we all have them), but there is plenty of growth in her characters to become better human beings. I also appreciate how well researched each book is. I come away with learning a lot and know that she put thought into every last detail. I think Things You Save in a Fire, was slightly better. I really liked how even though you could kind of guess the defining moment in the main character's life when she was sixteen, you wanted so desperately for her to share her story and learn to get past it. I also really liked how the romance wasn't the center of the book and it wasn't at all cheesy. It's totally believable and something you root for. I cannot recommend this author enough. Her novels are perfect for any type of mood you may be in. Some people may have issues with the ending, but I think if you take it for what it is - you can't help but love it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    Life is sometimes so very hard. We find we bump up against adversity, and though we try to tough it through the bad times, we often find ourselves injured in ways not visible to others, yet surely visible to ourselves. “That’s the thing I always love best about the human race: How we pick ourselves back up over and over and just keep on going.” True to this quote, Cassie has had to pick herself up and move on. She has had much in her young life that has made her hard on the outside, a tough as nai Life is sometimes so very hard. We find we bump up against adversity, and though we try to tough it through the bad times, we often find ourselves injured in ways not visible to others, yet surely visible to ourselves. “That’s the thing I always love best about the human race: How we pick ourselves back up over and over and just keep on going.” True to this quote, Cassie has had to pick herself up and move on. She has had much in her young life that has made her hard on the outside, a tough as nails exterior which hides the hurt that she feels deep within her heart. Cassie was left by her mother on of all things her sixteenth birthday. She doesn’t understand and as she matures the rift with her mother becomes further entrenched. That is until her mother asks her to come and be with her for a year. Cassie, as a result of some well deserved punches, kicks, and assorted other blows to a former “high school “friend” who is now a high profile councilman, is about to lose the job she loves, that of being a firefighter. But as fate often does, her mother’s plea coupled with the ability to work in another fire department allows Cassie to still be exactly what she loves and she reluctantly moves in with her mother. “Ten years I’d simmered in my own self-righteousness, holding my grudge against her as if the only way to win was to stay mad the longest.” That is the catalyst that changes Cassie’s life bringing her into her mother’s world, the world of the new firehouse and the men who work there and most importantly meeting the Rookie, a young man starting out in the job. Thanks to wonderful writing that was touching and poignant, a great story line that didn’t get lost in the shuffle, and characters that were portrayed with all their quirks and foibles, this story turned out to be beautiful. It taught the reader along the way that love and forgiveness is really the most important aspects of a human life. “Choosing to love—despite all the ways that people let you down, and disappear, and break your heart. Knowing everything we know about how hard life is and choosing to love, anyway.. That’s not weakness, that’s courage.” I definitely recommend this book to everyone, especially those like Jan and I who so love a wonderful women’s fiction story that will hit you in all the right places. Look for it on August 13th, 2019, read it and enjoy! Thanks you to Katherine Center, St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy of this lovely book. Both Jan and I were thrilled when we were able to secure an advanced copy of Katherine Center’s book, Things You Save in a Fire. We found much to love about this story, as its narrative, its characters, and writing were truly something special. Out duo reviews can be found here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Arini

    3.75 stars my first read by this author and this read more like a chick lit, so i guess thats her thing? there was so much personal growth and talks of firefighting (both of which i enjoyed reading about) that the romance was kind of on the back burner (which was fine by me but also left me wanting more). it had a great start but was quickly overshadowed by other less romantic themes this book tried to broach. overall, it was a fairly positive and hopeful read. it was a beautiful, heartwarming, an 3.75 stars my first read by this author and this read more like a chick lit, so i guess thats her thing? there was so much personal growth and talks of firefighting (both of which i enjoyed reading about) that the romance was kind of on the back burner (which was fine by me but also left me wanting more). it had a great start but was quickly overshadowed by other less romantic themes this book tried to broach. overall, it was a fairly positive and hopeful read. it was a beautiful, heartwarming, and uplifting story about a strong independent woman on her way to reach a point of healing, forgiveness, and to learn to believe in love again past her trauma. it was nothing overly special and honestly quite predictable, but it was comforting and encouraging to read. i suppose it felt like reading a nicholas sparks book. (read in audiobook format)

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