Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Just a Summer Fling
Author: Cate Cameron
Series: Sullivan Lake #1
Heroine/Hero: Ashley Carlsen/Josh Sullivan
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 304 Pages
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Sullivan Lake, Vermont, has plenty of attractions for movie star Ashley Carlsen—pristine nature, local color, and a handyman with a bad reputation for all the right reasons…
Ashley’s movie-star life is starting to feel like an act. She’s desperate to be taken seriously, and after her boyfriend’s affair with a costar, she’s ready for a new scene. A vacation at Sullivan Lake with Hollywood power player Jasmine McArthur might be the answer to all her problems. And according to Jasmine, all Ashley needs is a hot summer fling with local stud Josh Sullivan.
After one look at the handsome handyman, Ashley has a hard time saying no. But Josh is tired of playing boy toy for rich women like Jasmine and her friends. As determined as he is to stay away, he can’t shake the feeling that Ashley is different—and he can’t help noticing her auburn hair and dancing green eyes. But when their budding romance hits the tabloids, will it be another Hollywood scandal, or happily ever after?
Review: I know Cate Cameron’s other works in a different genre (M/M romance) and quite enjoy them. When I found out she was writing adult M/F romance, with small-town settings no less, I was intrigued. I wondered how she would make the transition … especially because, for the last couple of years, I found my love in M/F contemporary romance again.
Well, for my first experience (in the series too), it was a bit of hit and miss.
The hits… I liked the hero. Josh Sullivan makes mistakes in his life – which earns him a boy-toy kind of reputation – but he seems to learn his lesson. Sure, there are times that he lets his pride talk for him, but at the same time, I thought it was well-grounded. I guess the whole “us local vs. you summer people” mentality that Josh has developed was reasonable enough for me to side with him.
Interestingly, I also liked Josh’s cousin, Kevin – whom described himself as a little annoying at first. But he has this relaxed-no-biggie stance that I found myself enjoying Kevin’s appearances after all. I also liked Charlotte, Ashley’s best friend, and my reason for liking her was strongly connected to the heroine (as written below).
Now, the misses … my biggest issue with this book is the heroine. I thought Ashley was quite naïve and immature; I know that some of the impulsive things she did were based on good intentions, but it was not quite believable coming from an adult woman who has spent years as an actress in Hollywood. Isn’t Hollywood supposed to make you grow up a lot quicker than your true age? *smirk*
In addition, I also found Ashley to be indecisive; at first she came as wanting to just have a fling (based on a bet!), then she whined when Josh didn’t fall for that, then she wanted to be his friend, then she wanted to have fun, then she didn’t know if she should go to Hollywood when the role of her dreams was in her hand (because at that time she just fought with Josh *rolled eyes*), then she whined again when she couldn’t act properly and told the director it was because she had personal problems with men … well, excuse me, that kind of attitude is very uninspiring for me as a reader.
Luckily, Ashley does have a good friend in Charlotte, who seems to be level-headed and mature enough to help Ashley with her mistakes. Still, I wasn’t impressed. I know that women tend to be harsher to heroines in their books, but I definitely can’t see Ashley as a heroine that I want to be in real life, you know? Since Ashley is one of the main characters, and I didn’t like her that much, it became harder for me to invest in Ashley and Josh as a couple. I was also not totally sold on the ending – which felt slightly more Happy For Now, rather than Happily Ever After.
Having said all that, I must admit that when Ashley was in her good behavior (*grin*), she and Josh had a wonderful chemistry. I liked that early game of “list of hazards in Vermont”, which I found adorable. I also thought every scene involving Ashley and Daisy the Demon Dog to be cute-worthy.
I guess overall, Just a Summer Fling is a promising start of a new series, even if some of the Lake Sullivan residents (especially the antagonists like The McArthurs) are quite aggravating. It might not check all the boxes for me yet, but I can see myself trying the next book.
Overall Impression: It was good
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*