Review: Tourist Season

Review: Tourist SeasonTourist Season by Brenda Novak
Published by MIRA on April 23, 2024
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: This well-paced story about a woman’s growing doubts about the men in her life is a good read despite an ending that may not fully satisfy.

THE STORY: Ismay Chalmers decides to spend her summer at her fiancé Remy’s family’s opulent cottage on Mariners Island. However, her plans for a tranquil getaway are disrupted when a hurricane strikes the island before Remy’s arrival. As Ismay weathers the storm alone in the spacious house, she stumbles upon an unsettling secret hidden in Remy’s childhood closet. Amidst the chaos, the estate’s caretaker, Bo, comes to Ismay’s aid, repairing the cottage and providing a sense of security during the tumultuous weather. With his own home damaged, Bo temporarily moves in with Ismay, and an unexpected bond begins to form between them. Ismay starts to question her feelings for Remy as she finds herself drawn to Bo’s quiet strength and genuine nature. Just when she thinks she can trust Bo, she finds out that he has secrets, too.

OPINION: TOURIST SEASON is a suspenseful contemporary romance that keeps readers on the edge of their seats and the pages turning. While the cover may suggest a light, romantic read, the novel delves into darker territory as Ismay finds herself questioning the motives of the men she encounters and whether they might pose a danger to her.

Throughout the story, Ismay’s discoveries and interactions with the characters, particularly her fiancé Remy and the enigmatic caretaker Bo, lead her to question the trust she has placed in them. As secrets are unveiled and the plot thickens, Ismay’s suspicions grow, and she begins to wonder if anyone is truly who they seem to be. This element of suspense adds a layer of tension to the story, keeping readers engaged and eager to uncover the truth alongside Ismay.

Novak’s pacing is well-executed, with a gradual buildup that allows readers to become invested in the characters and their struggles. The luxurious beachfront cottage on Mariners Island serves as an atmospheric backdrop.

While the ending may not fully live up to the potential established by the story’s buildup, TOURIST SEASON remains an engaging read and a good choice for a summer read. Novak’s ability to craft relatable characters and explore the complexities of relationships, particularly in the face of doubt and potential danger, makes this novel a satisfying choice.

WORTH MENTIONING: The cover of this book is deceiving. It is a great suspense/mystery and pretty creepy for quite a bit of the story.

CONNECTED BOOKS: TOURIST SEASON is a standalone. It takes place on Mariners Island, the same as BOOKSTORE ON THE BEACH, but the books are not connected otherwise.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

My Season of Scandal

My Season of ScandalMy Season of Scandal (The Palace of Rogues, #7) by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #7
Published by Avon Books on April 23, 2024
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: A captivating and emotionally charged tale of an unlikely love between a world-weary man and an innocent country girl. Long’s signature wit, lyrical prose, and masterful relationship-building are on full display in this seventh installment of the Palace of Rogues series.

THE STORY: Catherine Keating arrives in London for her first season, determined to find a suitable husband. However, the glittering ballrooms and societal expectations prove more daunting than she anticipated. When a chance encounter leads her to the Grand Palace on the Thames, Catherine finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Lord Dominic Kirke, a man known for his fiery speeches in Parliament and his ability to captivate any woman he chooses. As they navigate the season together, attending balls and sharing secret moments, Catherine and Dominic discover a connection that goes beyond mere attraction. But with Dominic’s tragic past and Catherine’s innocence, their love seems doomed from the start. Dominic must decide whether to protect his battered heart or risk everything for the woman who has captured it so completely.

OPINION: Once again, Julie Anne Long has crafted a delightful romance in returning to the Grand Palace on the Thames. The pairing of an older, cynical man and a young, optimistic woman is an unlikely combination that surprises even the characters themselves. Long’s incredible use of language elevates the story, while cameos from beloved characters add depth and continuity to the series.

The emotional journey between Catherine and Dominic is the heart of this book. Their conversations are emotionally resonant, allowing them to understand each other on a profound level. The love they share brings out the best in both of them, a testament to Long’s skill in building relationships. The “tragic past” trope is handled with a fresh perspective, making Dominic’s story compelling and relatable.

The yearning and angst between Catherine and Dominic is palpable, creating a delicious tension that keeps the pages turning. Their secret meetings and desperate attempts to resist their feelings only heighten the slow-burn romance. Watching them navigate their big, scary feelings and put each other’s hearts back together is a beautiful and rewarding experience.

Dominic, usually so eloquent in Parliament, finds himself tongue-tied and baffled by Catherine, who slips under his defenses like water through a leak. Catherine, in turn, refuses to let Dominic hide away from his pain and hurt. The result is a love story that is both tender and passionate, with a satisfying ending that will leave readers sighing with contentment.

WORTH MENTIONING: The secret alcove run-ins and rendezvous add a delightful touch of forbidden romance to the story.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MY SEASON OF SCANDAL is the seventh book in the Palace of Rogues series. While the romance stands alone, reading the series in order provides a richer experience and allows readers to fully appreciate the cameos and connections to previous characters.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars