The Book Worm: Review: All Summer Long

Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: All Summer Long

susan mallery, all summer long, book review

✩✩

Former underwear model turned entrepreneur Clay Stryker has loved, tragically lost and vowed that he'll never risk his heart again. After making his fortune, the youngest of the rugged Stryker brothers returns to Fool's Gold, California, to put down roots on a ranch of his own. But he's frustrated to discover that even in his hometown, people see him only for his world-famous…assets.

Firefighter Chantal (Charlie) Dixon grew up an ugly duckling beside her delicately beautiful mother, a feeling reinforced long ago by a man who left soul-deep scars. Now she has good friends, a solid job and the itch to start a family—yet she can't move toward the future while she's haunted by painful memories.

Clay finds an unexpected ally, and unexpected temptation, in tomboyish Charlie, the only person who sees beyond his dazzling good looks to the real man beneath. But when Charlie comes to him with an indecent proposal, will they be able to overcome their pasts and find a love that lasts beyond one incredible summer?
Genre: contemporary romance

Publishing date: July 2012

Offensive content: too many sex scenes to count them all. Consider yourself warned.

Review: 
I'm on the fence about this book. It feels totally different from the other books in the series that I've read so far (Kiss Me, Thrill Me and Marry Me at Christmas), and I confess I was a bit shocked. Maybe because it's an earlier work. Or maybe that's just the way it is. If an author writes a series of 15+ books over the same little town, you're bound to love ones and hate others. 

I didn't exactly hate All Summer Long. I think I just failed to understand the premises on which the romance between Clay and Charlie started. I was hoping to get more insight as the story progressed, but it ended before I could really grasp its purpose. 

Let's start with what I like. 

I liked both characters, even though I got a little tired of hearing that Clay was the best looking man in the world and that all women turned heads in the street to look at him. I also did not understand where all his (perfect too, of course) physical abilities came from, because we only see him once at the gym and there's no other clue as to him working out regularly. But those minor details aside, he fares rather well in the story. Charlie too. I admired her from the start, her direct approach to problems and her ability to make the best of, again, her physical abilities as a firefighter, helping the community.

I also liked the problems addressed in the book, namely the lingering trauma of rape victims and the sometimes difficult family relationships, especially when parents and children were, for a variety of reasons, estranged and lived separate lives for quite some time. 

What I didn't like? In  general terms, the overload of sex. 

I couldn't get past the fact that Charlie decided to overcome her rape trauma by practically hiring a virtual stranger (Ok, not exactly a stranger since he's her best friend's brother in law, but still...) to have sex with her. And while we kind of get (or not) what she expects to benefit from the deal, we never understand what he expects to gain. There's no financial payment (otherwise I would be calling it prostitution) but bottom line he's having sex with her just because she's offering? Just chalking it up to friendliness? That's not in my list of ways to help friends, sorry.

And from them on, there's a succession on sex scenes throughout the book that, although still in excess and a bit overly graphic, even for me, would fit perfectly within the theme of the story if  I had been able to find the deal of Charlie and Clay believable. Since couldn't get past that block, it was just random sex and it kind of ruined the happily ever after for me. 

I'm giving it three stars because I'm assuming this sex deal thing is a subjective opinion and other people may have a different view on it. It certainly is an original story and an unusual way to start a romance. I also still liked the other issues treated in the book. 

So, although I would not actively recommend All Summer Long and would direct you to the other books in the series that I really liked (Kiss Me, Thrill Me and Marry Me at Christmas), it also wasn't a sacrifice to read it. I've read much better, but I've also read a lot worse. 

Have a great weekend, and happy readings!

the book worm, book blog

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