A continuation of the Beach House No. 9 series review I started last week.
I decided to split the post as it was getting way too long as it was. Part one of the post can be read here.
next comes the second course, Bungalow Nights….
Combat medic Vance Smith made a promise to a fallen officer: to treat the man’s young daughter to an idyllic vacation at Beach House No. 9. One month, some sun and surf, a “helmet list” of activities to check off and Vance will move on. But the “little girl” he’s expecting turns out to be a full-grown woman. With silky hair, big brown eyes and smelling sweetly of the cupcakes she makes for her mobile bakery, Layla Parker is irresistible. And Vance shouldn’t lay a finger on her. Honor—and one heck of a scarred heart—says so.
To Layla, Vance is a hero who was injured trying to save her father’s life. She intends to spend their month of lazy days and warm nights taking very good care of the gorgeous soldier—inside and out….
Sometimes the sophomore effort in a series, be it book or film, can be the lesser link in the chain. Not so with Bungalow Nights, the second full novel in the Beach House No. 9 series. This is a wonderful book, both funny and touching in equal measure.
Combat medic, Vance is all prepared to fulfil the promise he made to a fallen comrade to ensure his “little girl” has a lovely summer break at Crescent Cove. He’s organised for a chaperone and a bunch of activities organised for the “helmet list” the other man left behind. I could just picture the look on his face when it dawns on him that Layla, the “little girl” isn’t so little anymore. She’s all grown-up and running her own business. Being attracted to her is definitely not part of his plan.
Both the hero and heroine struggle with some big-time demons. Vance’s estrangement from his family was so sad. His brother (brilliant nickname by the way, Ms Ridgway!) was this perfect, can do no wrong type and he rebelled against this. As a consequence, he lost not only his place in the family business but his fiancée to said perfect brother. You could just sense how much he wanted to re-establish that connection, but couldn’t let go of his pride enough to do it. Layla finds it difficult to come to terms with the loss of her father. He was absent so frequently during her life, and her upbringing was a bit all over the shop, so she missed out on so much with him. This is why I think she is so open to the idea of fulfilling the “helmet list”, because it is a way to connect with her father and to finally deal with her feelings about his death. Their issues and problems are handled with sensitivity, and never drift into maudlin territory.
The attraction and romance between Vance and Layla played out beautifully. They fight against it, however they continue to nurture it through their acts of caring toward each other and through the lovely friendship they develop along the way. The side romance between Baxter, Vance’s cousin and Addy, the chaperone was very sweet as well.
I enjoyed this book. I think if you were that way inclined, you could read this as a standalone, but I really recommend you read the ones before this prior to reading it.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 19 February 2013
and for the grand finale, The Love Shack….
Globe-trotting photojournalist Gage Lowell spent carefree childhood summers in Crescent Cove. Now that he desperately needs some R & R, he books a vacation at Beach House No. 9—ready to soak up some sun and surprise old friend and property manager Skye Alexander. Their long-distance letters got him through a dangerous time he can’t otherwise talk about. But when he arrives, the tightly wound beauty isn’t exactly happy to see him.
Skye knows any red-blooded woman would be thrilled to spend time with gorgeous, sexy Gage. But she harbors secrets of her own, including that she might just be a little bit in love with him. And she’s convinced the restless wanderer won’t stay long enough for her to dare share her past—or dream of a future together. Luckily for them both, summer at Crescent Cove has a way of making the impossible happen….
I’ve got to admit this was the book that I had been waiting for. Ever since I read the prequel novella, I have been intrigued as to how the story of Gage and Skye would play out. We have been shown hints throughout the series of both a deep connection between them, and some deeper hidden hurt compelling Skye to shy away from it.
Gage is the twin from Griffin in book 1. He’s a combat photographer who’s been through something he can’t confront yet. He can’t and doesn’t talk about it with anyone, not even those closest to him. However, this soul-deep connection that he has developed with Skye allows him to let her in on his private pain, something Skye herself does in reverse. These two were just lovely together. They allowed each other to heal and to get some way back to the people they want to be. As I have done a lot lately, I was riding the bumps with them, cheering them on towards the happy ending they both richly deserve.
Thank you, Ms Ridgway for giving Teague a happy ending too. After years of mooning over the unattainable Tess, he finally finds his forever after where he lest expected to.
Christie Ridgway has delivered a wonderful conclusion to the series in The Love Shack. It was funny, smart, compelling and emotional. I’m just sad the series is done with now.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 26 March 2013
Just a few quick thoughts on the series as a whole…
I really enjoyed this series. The world of Crescent Cove, as created by Ms Ridgway, is visually very strong. I found it easy to imagine what the Cove and all its people & places look like.
Another strength of the series are the side storylines. Each of the novels has a secondary romance which in their own right are fantastic but don’t dominate or take over the main story.
Note: I was provided with advanced reader copies of books two and three by Harlequin via NetGalley in return for an honest review.