Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: The Summer He Came Home by Juliana Stone

Title: The Summer He Came Home
Author: Juliana Stone
Series: Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 2 April 2013

Sometimes the best place to find love is right back where you started...

Falling asleep in a different bed every night has made it easy for Cain Black to forget his past. It’s been ten years since he packed his guitar and left Crystal Lake to chase his dreams. Now tragedy has forced him home again. And though Cain relishes the freedom of the road, one stolen moment with Maggie O’Rourke makes him wonder if he’s missing out on something bigger than fame.

For Maggie—single mother and newly settled in Crystal Lake—love is a luxury she just can’t afford. Sure, she appreciates the tall, dark and handsome looks of prodigal son Cain Black. But how long can she expect the notorious hellion to stay?

The last thing either of them wants is something complicated. But sometimes love has its own plans.

I picked this book up because I have the second in the series (The Christmas He Loved Her) for review and wanted to read them in order - I can't help it. I must read in order! So, even though I've been on a holiday romance reading kick lately I switched gears entirely and hit summer in Michigan.

The book starts as Cain comes back to his hometown for the funeral of one of his best friends. I don't mind saying I was nearly in tears reading this. Though...well, the grief didn't seem to last very long for the rest of the characters (except the twin brother). Anyway, Cain's just starting to make it big with his band - he's the lead singer and front guitarist - but finds that he can use the break when he gets back home.

I mostly liked Cain and Maggie, though I'm hard-pressed to come up with some characteristics of them that aren't related to their chemistry and smexy times with each other. Cain is nothing like one would expect a rock-star to be - he's down to earth, kind, and caring to the extreme. Maggie, and here's where the majority of my problems come from, is stand-offish (though that's understandable considering her history) and, well, passive. Things happen to her. I never got the feeling that she had any hand in what was going on and she just kind of went with the flow.

I did have a hard time understanding why they fell in love. Cain mentions a few reasons of why he's falling for Maggie, but I honestly saw none of that in her. I felt like they never talked - though I was told about them talking, I didn't get to see it. And I really have no idea how the hell they're going to make it work when Cain needs to go back to LA in the fall.

I'm not a fan of the 'grand gesture' proposal at the end - and I didn't think Maggie would be either, but she was apparently into it; which just seemed like a complete reversal of her personality.

The secondary characters definitely had me intrigued, especially Jake and Raine! I'm so glad that Jake's story is next, because I'm dying to see how Juliana Stone resolves this.

I feel like I'm complaining a lot, and I did have issues with this - in fact I could nit-pick a few other things that continue to bother me. However, I was enjoying the book, for the most part, while I was reading it. The closer I examine things, and feelings about it, the more issues I come up with. The Summer He Came Home was a fun, quick, light read. If you're looking for something easy and straightforward, this could definitely be a good one.

Grade: C

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