Review: The Next Flame by Penelope Douglas

The Next Flame
(Fall Away #4 & 4.5)
by Penelope Douglas
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Genre: New Adult Romance

New York Times bestseller Penelope Douglas introduces the next generation in her Fall Away series in Next to Never, together for the first time with her bestselling novella, Aflame….

Next to Never
Under the close watch of the men in her family, Quinn Caruthers has found it nearly impossible to spread her wings—or even date—without her three older brothers, Jared, Madoc, and Jaxon, jumping in to hover. And when a family friend—several years older—from her childhood still holds her heart, she knows they’re going to be a problem. Lucas Morrow is a man, and knowing her brothers, he may as well be forbidden.

But years ago, Lucas left town and shows no signs of returning. Quinn knows she shouldn’t wait for him anymore.

Until a package turns up on her doorstep with no return address and its contents reveal family secrets that threaten to turn her world upside down. She’s never asked about the path of her parents’ romantic history, but she soon learns their happy marriage had a very rocky and passionate start.

As she starts to see things around her with new eyes, Quinn will have to make tough choices about whether she’ll keep waiting…or finally go after what she really wants.

Tatum Brandt finally has everything she wants. Acceptance to medical school, a circle of friends she would never replace, and contentment that every day is now hers.

All through high school, Jared Trent called the shots. He decided if she would be happy or sad, fearful or free. He owned her heart, and he played with it like one of his cars.

Never again.

Two years ago, Jared left town, and Tate’s life is exactly where she wants it to be. Or that’s what she tells herself…

Because two years ago, her heart also stopped beating, and no matter the success in school or the support of her friends, there’s only one time every week she can feel that same rush in her blood. Friday nights on the track.

That’s hers, not his, and to hell with anyone that gets in her way again.

Especially him.



My thoughts…



Just when you thought all the drama was over, Tate and Jared kick it up a notch. Jared took off two years ago to find himself, and during that time Tate moved on, and now Jared’s come back and realized his mistake. Like previous books, these two dance around each other the majority of the time and it’s a push-pull relationship between them.

I will say that I enjoyed getting to see everyone. We meet back up with all the characters from previous books, we even find out about Jax’s mom and Madoc’s father. It was a great way to see where everyone is at two years after the last book. I liked getting some closure with these characters but I also liked that the author left it open. I also liked the epilogue and how the author left the possibility for more down the road.


Next to Never
I totally had an “oh shit!” moment when I started reading this story. We got a snippet and a hint that Quinn (child from Madoc’s dad and Jared’s mom) had a childhood crush on Lucas who was a childhood friend but I never connected the dots that that Lucas was the same little boy that Madoc took on as a “little brother” in Rival. I feel bad that I’d forgotten about Lucas. He was just a background character that only popped up here and there in Rival but he was a saucy lil thing which is no surprise given the fact that “take nothing seriously” Madoc was his “big brother”.

However, with that being said, this isn’t Lucas’ story. Heck, it isn’t even Quinn’s. Quinn obtains this romance novel only it’s more of a memoir of her parents’ time together. The majority of Next to Never is pretty much the memoir. There are snippets of the present time of the whole gang but there’s really no Quinn time. I felt no connection to her, knew little to nothing about her, and couldn’t care less about her in the end. I thought this was going to be her story… Lucas’ story. I was so excited about it but instead I got some disjointed memoir of affairs of characters I don’t even care about. Not to mention Lucas doesn’t even make an appearance in the book until the last 5 pages, and it’s just his POV of what he’s doing right then and there. There’s no interaction between these two the entire time. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more frustrated with a book. I get that the author was trying to show readers that you can be happy without being one half of a whole but come on! I wanted Quinn’s story at least, not some creepy retelling of some teenage mother who is “saved” by a married rich dude, put up in a house by him, sleeps with him, but refuses to leave his current wife because of his infant son. No! Just no! I feel duped by this story.


Favorite quote…

“Chicks–even eight-year-old chicks–were complicated. Women didn’t want to tell you what was wrong flat out. Oh, no. It couldn’t be that easy. You had to get a shovel and dig it out of them.” -Aflame


Previous reviews from Fall Away
Until You
Falling Away



12 Thoughts on “Review: The Next Flame by Penelope Douglas

  1. Lol, I like those oh shit moments, good and bad

  2. I’ve really enjoyed this series so far but I’m two books behind, so I really hope to catch up with this soon.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Oh yeah,t hat would frustrate me too. I’m all for independence and not having love/sex solve everything but I want to see the couple together in a romance novel.

    For What It’s Worth

  4. I am sorry that Next to Never failed to deliver. I understand your disappointment.

  5. I haven’t read the series, but it’s nice to read your thoughts about it 🙂

  6. Dang! That’s a bummer. I’m sorry you didn’t like it that much Kristin 🙁

  7. Haven’t read these before, sorry to hear Next to Never was ehhh

  8. Sorry this one didn’t work for you, and I’m not sure this would be a good fit for me either. Sleeping with a married man – that’s a big no for me in a story. Happy Friday! Hugs…

  9. I haven’t read this one but it sounds good.

  10. Aw, sorry about feeling duped by the story. I do like books where previous characters from other books show up though!

  11. Hmm, I haven’t read any of this series, or this author yet. But it sounds like a series I might enjoy. Great reviews!

  12. Too bad about Next to Never, I was curious because of Quinn, but now I’m having second thoughts about it :-/ I read and loved the trilogy + the novel under Jared’s POV, then decided to grab Aflame to get some closure, but I confess Tate and Jared got on my nerves quite a bit . . . I still enjoyed the book, just not as much as the previous instalments.

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