Review: Boardwalk Summer

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a TLC Book Tour.

I absolutely loved everything about this book! 

I was so excited to read this because it takes place in Santa Cruz, California. I just so happen to live in nearby San Jose (which is mentioned in passing a few times in the book) and have been to Santa Cruz and the boardwalk myself. It was really cool reading about a place that I was familiar with. The beach boardwalk was the place for end of the field trips while I was in school. Whenever the Giant Dipper or the carousel was mentioned, I got exited and  was like, I’ve been on that! 

This book has dual storylines: Violet’s story which takes place in 1940 and Mari’s story which takes place in 2007. I found both stories to be very compelling and I liked how they were connected. Usually when it comes to dual storylines, I’ll end up liking one story more than the other, but with this book, I loved them both! 

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I was so happy to see that Mari was Mexican American. It gave the book a realness that was refreshing. There are a lot of Mexican Americans in the Bay Area so it was nice to see that representation. 

The whole tearing down the gazebo and building condos storyline in Mari’s part was so accurate. That happens so much in the Bay Area especially since the Silicon Valley tech boom. Developers are constantly trying to tear down things that have been here forever in order to build stuff the city doesn’t even need. I could relate to Mari’s opposition to it so much! 

As for Violet and her storyline, I enjoyed how it portrayed the reality of Hollywood. It showed both the glamour and the grime of it. It especially important now because of the #MeToo movement. 

Overall if you’re looking for a California beach read, then look no further, this book is for you! And from a local perspective, this was spot on!


Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Author Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
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About Boardwalk Summer

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 19, 2018)

In this new novel from the USA Today bestselling author of The Dressmaker’s Dowry, two young women two generations apart discover the joy and heartbreak of following their dreams. Aspiring Hollywood actress Violet makes a shocking choice in 1940, and seventy years later, Mari sets out to discover what happened on that long ago summer.

Santa Cruz, Summer 1940: When auburn-haired Violet Harcourt is crowned Miss California on the boardwalk of her hometown, she knows she is one step closer to her cherished dream: a Hollywood screen test. But Violet’s victory comes with a price—discord in her seemingly perfect marriage—and she grapples with how much more she is willing to pay.

Summer 2007: Single mother Marisol Cruz lives with her parents in the charming beach cottage that belonged to her grandfather, Ricardo, once a famed performer on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Drawn to the town’s local history and the quaint gazebo where her grandparents danced beneath the stars, Mari sells raffle tickets at the Beach Boardwalk Centennial Celebration, and meets Jason, a California transplant from Chicago.

When Mari discovers the obituary of Violet Harcourt, a beauty queen who died too young, she and Jason are sent on a journey together that will uncover her grandfather’s lifelong secret—his connection to Violet—a story of tragedy and courage that will forever transform them.

About Meredith Jaeger

USA Today bestselling author Meredith Jaeger was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the daughter of a Swiss father and an American mother. While working for a San Francisco start-up, Meredith fulfilled her dream of writing a novel, the result of which was The Dressmaker,s Dowry. Meredith lives in Alameda with her husband, their infant daughter, and their bulldog.

Find out more about Meredith at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 

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Review: Lighthouse Beach

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Click the picture to buy the book on HarperCollins’ website

Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a TLC Book Tour.

This was a great beach read about 4 women who flee from a wedding and head to Lighthouse Beach. There’s a little bit of everything: romance, friendship, self-discovery, and secret pasts. 

The best part of the book was the setting of Lighthouse Beach and the role that it played in their lives. Lighthouse beach felt like a character and that gave the book that special something. You could feel the power of Lighthouse Beach through the pages.

I liked the 4 main characters and their story arcs, however, I definitely felt that Allie got the short end of the stick. Her character didn’t get the same level of attention that the other 3 received. Especially in the first half of the book, Allie was there but her presence wasn’t really known. More could have been done with her. At times her character felt like an afterthought. 

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One of the characters in this book is a biker doctor (appropriately nicknamed “Doc Harley”) which I found to be such an interesting combination. I’ve never seen that in a book before and I really liked that. You see bikers in books, but never one who is also a respected doctor. 

The ending leaves you wanting a bit more, but I was glad it was left more open-ended. It felt natural since the book took place over a span of just 1 week. I would love to see a sequel and what happened afterwards. Perhaps a return to Lighthouse Beach (*hint hint* to the author) could happen.

Overall, if you’re looking to start off your summer with a beach read, then look no further than Lighthouse Beach. 


Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Author Links: WebsiteFacebook, and Twitter
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About Lighthouse Beach

• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 29, 2018)

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Noble comes a heartrending and uplifting novel about friendship, love, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for our dreams.

What was supposed to be an idyllic wedding leads to an unexpected journey of self-discovery…

When Lillo Gray pulls up to Kennebunkport’s most exclusive hotel wearing a borrowed dress and driving a borrowed VW van, she knows she’s made a big mistake. She’s not even sure why Jessica Parker invited her to her posh wedding. They haven’t seen each other since they were unhappy fourteen-year-old girls at fat camp. And now they’re from two completely different worlds. There’s no way Lillo fits in the rarefied circles Jessica travels in.

Jess isn’t sure she’s ready to go through with this wedding, but she’s been too busy making everyone else happy to think about what she wants. But when she and her two closest friends, Allie and Diana, along with Lillo, discover her fiancé with his pants down in the hotel parking lot, she’s humiliated…and slightly relieved. In a rush to escape her crumbling life, Jess, Allie, and Diana pile into Lillo’s beat-up old van and head up the coast to Lighthouse Island. Once there, she hopes to figure out the next chapter in her life.

Nursing broken hearts and broken dreams, four lost women embark on a journey to find their way back into happiness with new love, friendship, and the healing power of Lighthouse Beach.

About Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer and has worked on a number of films. She lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to visit lighthouses and vintage carousels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.

Find out more about Shelley at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.