Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First to Burn by Anna Richland: A very realistic paranormal romance

Army doctor Theresa Chiesa goes by the book. Always. So when she finds evidence that an elite special forces soldier might be lying about his condition to get free rides on the medevac helicopter, she investigates. What she finds is really hot, really built Wulf Wardsen, a man who makes her want to forget that officers aren’t allowed to fraternize with enlisted men.

Wulf is an immortal viking who avoids doctors who might discover his secret. Until he meets Theresa. She smells of citrus and interests him more than any woman in centuries. Enough to start seriously pursuing a viking relic that could give him back his mortality, and a chance at a normal life. But Wulf’s had hundreds of years to make enemies, and now some of them are striking. Wulf relishes the chance to face them again, he just has to keep Theresa out of the crossfire.

There were several things I really liked about this novel - beyond the excellent writing, plotting, and character development. I really love that Richland’s plot is based on the idea that the primary characters in Beowulf were cursed with immortality, and old rivalries carried down through the centuries. This is the only paranormal element to the novel, and it serves not as the focus of the plot but as a catalyst for the characters and plot development. 

I also really liked Theresa’s character. She’s a truly strong heroine, insisting on participating in Wulf’s dangerous exploits and not only serving in the Army but doing so to make a difference. She can handle a gun, take down mortal enemies, and assist in strategic planning. Her character is tested and tried throughout the novel and comes out stronger. (Sorry about that teaser - I don’t want to give away a major plot point!)

If you’re a fan of military, paranormal, or contemporary, realistic romance, you’ll enjoy this unique, well-written novel. I purchased First to Burn on a whim, but will be going back for book two, Second to Lie - I have to find out what happens!

Richland, Anna. First to Burn. New York: Carina Press, 2014. Four Stars.


  1. Thank you Heather! I'm so glad you enjoyed First to Burn and glad Judith pointed this review out to me.

    To the best of my knowledge, I think you all are the first book group that has read one of my books as a pick, and I'd love to send your group a box of swag and random amazing stuff from the Romance Writers of America's national conference. I'm at the conference now, and let me tell you, there is a lot of amazing stuff from authors and publishers here. I just need an excuse to go into hunter gatherer mode for someone else!

    And I hope you'll try my contemporary novella, His Road Home - it's the story of Sergeant Rey Cruz, the mouthy guy who is always talking about women on Wulf's Special Forces team. Don't know if you noticed that he's sort of all talk - the price of a lot of deployments - but he has a story too. It's not paranormal, because he's a regular mortal guy, but Wulf and Theresa make a brief appearance.

    Thanks again!

    1. I didn't realize His Road Home was a related Novella - I'll definitely check that one out. And who doesn't love swag! I'm jealous of your RWA trip and happy to give you a reason to treasure hunt during your conference. :) I'll email you through your web page to give you my mailing address. Thanks!!