This week's review is over book one in the "Last Call" romance series by Sawyer Bennett which I downloaded from Amazon for free. Currently there are four books released in the series, with a fifth set to come out in March, so if after reading this review you're interested in checking out the book for yourself, there is some definite marathon potential.
As always, before I get into my thoughts, here's the book's Goodreads description:
He left to travel the world for fame and glory, but only after spurning Gabby Ward and crushing her young heart. Now Hunter Markham has come back home to the sand and salty breeze of the North Carolina Outer Banks so he can open up Last Call, a beach bar nestled among the dunes of the Atlantic.
Gabby Ward is not happy that Hunter has returned. Bitter over his rebuff years before, she’s content to stay far away from him and his dangerously charming ways.
Gabby’s well-schemed plans to ignore Hunter go up in flames when he presents an offer to her that she simply can’t refuse, throwing them together in a common quest to each reach their goals. Working together day in and day out proves to be problematic for Gabby, who soon realizes that the feelings she had for him are still very much alive. Hunter struggles to reach through to Gabby’s cold heart, all while starting a new career away from his life as a top ranked, professional surfer.
What starts out as a mutual business arrangement soon turns into a passion that neither of them can continue to deny.
Hard choices lay ahead for both of them when Hunter is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to the pro surfing tour.
Choices that could destroy what they have built or take them further than they ever had dared to hope.
I have a decent amount of notes so I'll just get started:
The first thing I noticed was some of the wording choices were a little eye roll worthy, followed closely by the fact that Hunter doesn't come across like a rugged, make you swoon sort of forbidden guy- more like a creep. He deliberately tries to make Gabby uncomfortable to emphasize sexual tension between them/take advantage of her feelings and that's not OK. In real life he'd be looking at a restraining order more than a date.
The story is written to be realistic, and by that I mean it's supposed to sound like a 22 year old contractor and a 27 or so year old ex-surfer, but it felt forced to try to get those voices to come through genuinely.
Much like "In Kelly's Corner" this book tries to be edgy, which made it fall flat to me. It needs to be effortless otherwise it just seems like everything is trying too hard.
Literally everyone except Brody and Alyssa acts like a spoiled child and refuses to communicate like they adults they are.
This is yet another book that uses sex as a way to resolve problems. That's not just unrealistic, it's also unhealthy to try to sell to readers. It's just asking for resentment to start building up, especially when, like I said, the characters aren't so great at communicating with each other.
There's a part in the story where Gabby "Can't go over to Hunter's" because his ex is there. This isn't him imposing that rule, either- and she isn't there for them to discuss things either. She and her brother are visiting, so what is she going to do? Stay away from her guy for an extended period of time? Sure it would be awkward at first, but she should still go.
A whole group of characters try to push Gabby to sway Hunter in one way or another regarding his life choices. Apparently they all forgot that he's pushing thirty and capable of making his own decisions/trying to force anyone to do anything never works out.
All in all, it was a quick read. Again, I read critically so I can do these reviews, but just because I had a lot of things I noticed could have been improved upon doesn't mean that I thought the book was bad. I don't think I'll continue with the series, but if it's available for free and you're up for a quick romance, there's really nothing to lose in giving it a shot.