Thursday, July 24, 2014

Riding the Wave: A Pacific Blue Novel by Lorelie Brown

What it’s about

The gray-green swells of San Sebastian haven’t changed in ten years, but Tanner Wright has. The last thing he expects to find back on his home turf is the love of his life....

With a make-or-break world championship on the line, professional surfer Tanner Wright has come back to the coastal California hometown he left a decade ago, carrying only his board and the painful knowledge of his father’s infidelity. Now that Hank Wright is dead, Tanner intends to keep the secret buried to spare his mother and sister the burden.

The last time Avalon Knox saw her best friend’s brother, she was fourteen and he was a twenty-year-old surfer god. She’s never understood or respected the way Tanner distanced himself from the family that has embraced her. But now she has the professional chance of a lifetime: to photograph Tanner for the competition—if he’ll agree.

Out on the waves, they find in each other passion that’s impossible to resist. And Tanner’s not the only one trying to move forward from his past. As the competition heats up, secrets get spilled, and lust takes over. How close can Avalon get to this brooding surfer…without getting burned?

 Karla’s Review

2 Stars! More like riding a ripple, nothing epic!

I’m sure there’s an audience for this book, but unfortunately it wasn’t for me. 

Tanner was the only redeeming character, my heart ached for him; he was the only one I had feelings for. The way I see it, he lost so much time with his family, because he tried to do the right thing, and in the end was vilified for it. 

Avalon, not my favorite heroine, and there was no chemistry between her and Tanner. She was wishy-washy and with no backbone. She had a better relationship with her camera.  Her mentality was “do as I say, but not as I do”.  It was okay for her to hide what she did, but she was judgmental when Tanner didn't tell her about his idea, which wasn’t nearly as earth-shattering or intrusive as what she did. I wanted to slap her. 

The big secret , Hank's infidelity, was glossed over, or at least that's how I saw it. Just didn't have the impact I thought it would. For as much as Eileen was glorified in the book, I can't say I felt the same way. Not sure what all the fuss was about over her and her supreme mothering skills. For someone who supposedly was the end all and be all of mothers, her reaction to Tanner’s confession was not what I expected. She annoyed the heck out of me. She should have laid blame on the person who caused the pain, not her son who struggled with the secret. Then she just rolled over and accepted it. She should have been comforting her son and quit the mother earth, sun-worshipping goddess act! 

Hank, I wanted to pound him into the sand even though he was already 6 feet under. He was placed on  a pedestal when he was nothing but an unfaithful dog. How did he die anyhow? I don’t remember reading anything about that, or maybe I did. That’s how feel about a lot of this book, nothing memorable. 

Mako...was he upset or wasn't he?!  I was confused by his character, I could get a handle on what he was about. 

The sex was spicy, very descriptive, but it was all motion with no emotion. 

It overflowed with repetitive internal dialogue, and not nearly enough actual dialogue, which was part of my issue about being told how they felt about each other and an my inability to connect emotionally. Also, too much about the daily routine, or rather she did this, he did that…boring. 

There were some tender moments between Tanner and Avalon, mostly because Tanner was so incredibly sweet,  and I did enjoy the setting, ocean, beach, men in board shorts…who wouldn’t enjoy that?! But it wasn’t enough. The big surf competition which would define Tanner's career, was uneventful and lacked detail , it was played out in few short paragraphs. Really?!?!  I’m not quite sure the author knew what to focus on.   

This series begins and ends right here for me. I couldn’t connect with the story or the characters. I was told how everyone felt, but those feelings didn’t flow over to me. Important details were either missing or just a blip in the read, and so much was left unresolved, and to top it off the ending was anti- climactic. Would I read another book from this author? Maybe one from her  Vegas Top Guns series where she partners with Carrie Lofty and writes under the pseudonym Katie Porter. We'll see.

*A copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Want to know more about Lorelie Brown?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Drums (Southern Seas Series #4) by Gwendoline Ewins

What it’s about

1825, Polynesia. Amelia Yorke is a destitute teacher with a petunia in a flower pot outside her dingy cottage in Sydneytown. Guy Richmond is a botanist seeking orchids in the rainforest and heir to vast lands in New South Wales.
They are from different worlds and should never have met, yet come together on the deck of a sailing ship overlooking a spectacular tropical lagoon.
As drums on the beach threaten, a man desperately paddles for freedom: he is overtaken and soon the aquamarine water of the lagoon is stained by blood.

The Southern Seas Series tells the stories of people who find themselves - for all sorts of reasons - on remote coral islands in the 1800's. They include men and women, daughters and sons, adventurers, seafarers, missionaries, traders, teachers, botanists, artists, beachcombers.

Kathleen’s Review

Story Rating ~ 4.5 Stars
Hero Rating ~ 5 Stars
Heroine~ 5 Stars
Romance Rating ~ 4 Stars
Heat Level ~ 2.5 Stars
Ending ~ 3.5 Stars
Overall Rating ~ 4.5 Stars

I have to say it and I’m saying it LOUD, DRUMS was a FANTASTIC READ that took me on a HUGE ADVENTURE!

Amelia Yorke is a 33 year old spinster, who has no family left alive. She has agreed to travel on a ship to Avatel, one of the Polynesian islands, to marry a man she’s never met. She is taken there on a ship called The Morning Star. When they are close to the island they spot a man in a raft that is in danger of crashing into the coral reef.  He manages with all the strength he can muster to paddle through the waves and beyond the coral reef to make it safely on board The Morning Star. Shortly afterwards they all see a tragic and violent event take place that will change Amelia’s life course once again.

Guy Richmonde has been traveling among the Polynesian islands for four years searching and researching rare orchids. He’s been living on the Island of Avatele for a while and made friends with a lot of the people living there. One night the chief of the local tribe was taking a new bride. The drums were playing a joyous tune and everyone was celebrating, dancing and drinking Kava. He leaves the celebration early to go exploring for more orchids. After a time, he notices the drums are beating a different tune and it’s not a joyous sound anymore. He decides he rather take his chances on a raft he’s made from driftwood, instead of staying on Avatele any longer. He spots a light off shore and figures it’s a ship, so he paddles for his life across the treacherous waves and past the coral reef, barely making it on board The Morning Star. This part of the story had me totally engrossed and there was no way I could have put the book down.  

With the drums still beating a violent tune, the captain of The Morning Star decides it’s time to set sail and leave. The captain then sets a new course and starts the voyage back home.

The Voyage back was AMAZING! They had to make a few stops at small tropical Islands to restock supplies. Gwendoline Ewins did an OUTSTANDING job of describing these settings. I could TOTALLY envision the water color, the coral reefs and pools that are situated in the lagoons. The sea creatures they encounter and the rare orchids they find while exploring. This was my favorite part of this read and I felt that this was where the Gwendoline’s writing talents REALLY shined through.

As the story moves along, we find out about Guy’s past, and his back story really tugged on my heartstrings and also explained why he was such a solitary man. As days pass, Amelia and Guy really get to know each other. It was not an instant attraction and I really LOVED reading about them getting to know one another. 
“A Moment ago I lost a physical battle I should never have fought to keep you against you will,” he admitted. “I will never forgive myself if I bruised you because in reality the only battle I am interested in fighting is the battle for our life together. I love you, Amelia, Just as you are, with all your struggles to survive in a harsh world with little protection, with a heart that has come into bloom before my very eyes. I want you. I need you Miss Amelia Yorke of Sydneytown, with every breath in my body and every thought in my head. I know you need me – and can only pray you will come to want me too.”
 There were  also some wonderful secondary characters we met along the voyage and also more when they finally made it home. The story does continue on once they are home and lots more happens that made the read even more interesting. 

Although this story is sensual at times, the heat level was a bit low. I enjoy a story that scorches the pages and even though this story did not bring a high level of heat, I loved it all the same. Coming from me this is a HUGE compliment. 

Drums does end on a happy note, however I felt it ended a bit abruptly. Also there was NO epilogue! I REALLY feel that an epilogue with a glimpse into the future would have gone a long way in giving this book a more conclusive ending.

There was one other thing that kept me from giving this book a full 5 stars. At times I felt that some of the thinking going on in Guy and Amelia’s minds was a bit repetitive. I found myself skimming over a few of these spots.

Overall I’m SO DARN HAPPY I read Drums! It’s a read that I KNOW will stick in my mind for many days and I HIGHLY recommend Drums to ALL historical romance lovers out there.

*A copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Want to know more about Gwendoline Ewins?