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Perfect Summer (The Lone Stars Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I had only planned to read this book so a couple chapters into this book I needed to order the remainder of this series. I really hope the author has no plans to end this series as I am hooked. This is the first book I've read by her so this was such a refreshing treat. I would have loved more for the epilogue portion of this book but that is just me wanting to "not" have this book end.
Thank you for the wonderful time I had reading this book. I am really looking forward to reading the next books. I seriously hope we have little looks into the previous characters. Great job! denise bailey
In truth, though I was surprised by the double plot romances (one with Summer and the other with her mother) I really liked how this novel began. It was steady passed and the playful banter between all the characters was very entertaining. However, around 57% of the way through this novel seemed to start dragging and the characters behavior started becoming a little ridiculous especially with all of their insecurities coming out of the woodwork. While I liked the pairings of Summer with Clint and Summer's mother Lillian (Lilly) with Davis (a man who loves her and is thirteen years younger than her), it was only curiosity in finding out the results of those relationships and because I really liked Summer & Davis's characters that had me pushing through to finish this novel.
Overall, I thought it was cute but I was hoping for more. Therefore, I recommend it to those who are fans of Ms. Graykowski or a light-hearted romance.
Review By: From Me to You ... Book Reviews
-- read more of this review and THREE TEASERS on my blog: frommetoyouvideophoto.blogspot.com --
them move along. But I will say it is not used merely to display "I am cool and I say the eff word repeatedly and with great relish." It fits the story and flows, not a jarring, oh, look, I am tough because I can say that word. And the sex, well, it is hot and fun and I actually read those scenes instead of skipping to the end of the chapter. Yep, the sex scenes, sometimes how they do confuse me. I get caught up in trying to picture if something can physically be done by a human with bones and it just takes away from the experience. This time, I was afraid I would actually miss something so I read every word. And I am glad I did.
The rest of this review, well, it is just some gushing I had to get off my chest.
I will often give myself a challenge, pick a freebie/cheapie that has been on your electronic device forever, start it, realize it is dreck, and then dump it, and go on with your life. Sounds silly, but sometimes I feel the need to accomplish something and this is the easiest thing to do to check something off my list.
Well, this time it bit me in my ever-expanding butt. Started it, and then nothing else got accomplished on my list until it was done, done, done.
Why did I think I wouldn't like it? Well, I had no memory of downloading it so that means it was free or pretty darn close. The cover has "award winning" or something like that on it. This can mean
anything from winning the Booker Prize to winning the Writer with Most Heart at a local writing co-op. Since Ms. Graykowski only has two books on Amazon, my assumption was more toward the Heart and less
towards the Booker. And then there were the shoes. The beautiful red stilettos on the cover. Admittedly shallow, I equal this type of shoe to someone I can't relate to. And then the football. The happiest day of
the year passed just a while back, you know, that day where they have the Super Bowl to celebrate the last dang day of that exercise in violence, football. Did I really want to read about it. Well, if you are a sports romance fan, don't look to this book for that fix. It is merely a tool, well used, for the story. It is off season, there are no heated rivalries for the starting QB role in the fall.
I digress. Perfect Summer is about a no-nonsense teacher who has had a lot of pain in her life, emotional pain, taunting, feelings of inadequacy, tests that she failed to gain love and acceptance. And that was
just from her mother. Because of her size, her weight, her appearance, Summer Ames (and yeah, the name is evocative of a Beach Blanket Bingo movie) had come to the conclusion that was reinforced all
of her life that she was too fat, too ugly to get a man and keep him. These experiences are shared in heartbreaking yet humorous ways throughout the book. The good news for readers who hate, hate, hate the
"she is an ugly duckling, but look, we take off her glasses, shake her hair and, BAM, we have ourselves a sex godess," let me assure you that doesn't happen here.
What we have is a woman who views herself as overweight, has unruly hair, and a lifetime of being shown she is not quite good enough. And also what we have is a man who loves her mouth.
Yep. A mouth-loving hero. Enter Clinton Grayson. Now, Mr. Grayson is gorgeous, intelligent, athletic, and oh, yeah, since he is a quarterback, I need to say gorgeous again. A middle linebacker, a safety, yeah,
they aren't required by the rules to be gorgeous. But those dang quarterbacks must be fine of face or what is the point, ya know what I mean?
Mr. Grayson, though, has a bit of an image problem. He has allowed a misunderstanding to be perpetuated about an ex-girlfriend. In order to get that retirement golden ticket, a media position, QB Grayson must
do some damage control. His PR agent, Aunt Bunny, comes up with something that puts our boy Clint in Ms. Ames' classroom as a mentor for at-risk kids.
Let the shenanigans begin.
Suffice it to say hilarity ensues. And I mean hilarity. But there are also some very touching moments, moments that made me think. It is obivous and stated from the beginning of the book that each of our
protags have a burden to bear, and that burden was placed on them squarely by their parental units. Summer's itty bitty mom made Summer feel ugly and huge and made Summer feel as if she had to pass tests
to get that maternal love all girls desperately want but be dismissive of. Flip the story to our male protag, and his paternal parental unit made sure he knew that he would never quite match up. How they deal with these issues is very similar and sometimes painful to see play out. But they are dealt with positively and oh, so humorously.
Anyway, there is not an ugly duckling transformation via weight loss and glasses removal, which was a great relief to me. Guess what, Summer is not as ugly as she thinks she is, surprise! Who saw that coming.
But Clint does make a strategic "let me treat this wonderful woman to a makeover" blunder, but it is handled well and realistically. She doesn't transform into a size 2 with a good haircut and a two-week regimen of intense exercise.
You can see the arc of their relationship, you can see it build. You know what he finds attractive, sexy even, in a woman who doesn't see it in herself. It isn't a sudden realization he has two-thirds of the way
through the book. It is something he sees and appreciates from day one. You see the depths of their character emerge in a believable way (all right, a bit of willing suspension of disbelief is required here and
there, but it is so well written and so fun, it seems right).
One of the astounding things about this book was how many relationships are shown and how well they are portrayed. Clint's dad is dead. Clint's mom is barely mentioned. No idea if she is still walking this mortal plane. Summer's dad died when she was very young so no allusions as to their relationship. But Summer's mom is front and center. You might want to hate her, and you probably do intermittently throughout the book. But her own issues are highlighted and dealt with. Unbeknownst to Summer, there is a man in her mom's life, too. And oh, my goodness, her humor is as wonderful as her daughter's. As their love stories progress in an almost parallel way, you are shown that these two women could become very, very close if only certain barriers were torn down. And most surprisingly, the evil mom has a fabulous relationship with her smart-mouth maid. Okay, a bit of a stock-character vibe shines through, but still well done and very funny.
Summer, of course, has some wacky neighbors who happen to be gay, again a stock character/couple you often see done poorly, too over the top for words. Not so in this case. Look, they have a killer cat that will act on command. What's not to love. Being a teacher to at-risk kids, again, there was the ubiquitous at-risk kid we all fell in love with. But a light touch, with love, was given to these characters. A bit of sequel bait was smelled with the late intro of a couple of Clint's teammates, but I am amenable to that so it didn't bother me.
Early on there is a scene where Summer and Clint cook together. Over the phone. Trust me. It works. It made me want to lick my Kindle. So fresh, innovative, and just yummy. It was a representation of just how these two people interacted, how they drew on each other, helped each other. Again, I want a spoonful of that.
There is no big MIS in this book. There are a number of misunderstandings, but hey, guess what, they talked them out and they dealt with them. Go figure.
I am not a fan of my Kindle Fire as far as ease of use. When I read a book, I read for me. I don't write notes because it is a PITA and the Kindle Fire just makes it even harder (yes, I am old). But I wrote
note after note. I highlighted passage after passage. Too many of them to choose from, to involved in the weavings of the story to just pull and quote. I often use the highlighting while reading because that is simple enough, but I generally use it just to show yet another editing error or misspelled word. I highlighted twice in this book to point out a typo.
There were two things that kind of disturbed me about the book, but I honestly think there was nothing nefarious about them. Background, I am a huge Jennifer Crusie fan. I am a bigger fan of Bet Me. I have it
on Audible and I literally will fall asleep listening to it at night. I will listen to parts of it through the day if I want background noise. I all but have it memorized. Bet Me has a large-ish female protag and a too-dang-beautiful-to-be-mortal male protag. The female protag in Bet Me has an itty bitty mom, too. That kind of made me go, uh-oh. Then there was a line or two that seemed to be to be straight out of Bet Me. One was "You dress like you hate your body." Now, this line or something very similar to it was a pivotal point in the Bet Me story line. The other line is Summer saying "As my mother says, the world isn't kind to fat people." Again, a very similar line was used in Bet Me. I will admit this made me a little uncomfortable. But my unease was for naught. These are common themes, common messages in a book with a "fat" girl. Nothing else in the book in any way gave a hint of overborrowing of words.
Bottom line part two. I loved it. I wanted to take it out for a walk. I wanted to buy it a chocolate cookie. I wanted to hang out with it by the pool. I just wanted it to be my new BFF.
A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.