Monday, June 23, 2014

(Review) Riding the Wave by Lorelie Brown

Title: Riding the Wave
Author: Lorelie Brown
Series: Pacific Blue, #1
Published: July 1, 2014 (Signet)
Rating: Lunch Break Read
Format: Digital review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. (Thanks!)
Summary: With a make-or-break world championship on the line, professional surfer Tanner Wright has come back to the coastal California hometown he left a decade ago, carrying only his board and the painful knowledge of his father’s infidelity. Now that Hank Wright is dead, Tanner intends to keep the secret buried to spare his mother and sister the burden.

The last time Avalon Knox saw her best friend’s brother, she was fourteen and he was a twenty-year-old surfer god. She’s never understood or respected the way Tanner distanced himself from the family that has embraced her. But now she has the professional chance of a lifetime: to photograph Tanner for the competition—if he’ll agree.

Out on the waves, they find in each other passion that’s impossible to resist. And Tanner’s not the only one trying to move forward from his past. As the competition heats up, secrets get spilled, and lust takes over. How close can Avalon get to this brooding surfer without getting burned?
I'll be honest: When Estelle from Foreword Literary first approached me about this book, my answer was a resounding HECK YEAH. (No, really. I can go screencap the email if you doubt me.) Long-time crush? Best friend's older brother? Sexy surfers? Forget the sound of the ocean, that was clearly the sound of a book calling my name, and who was I to deny it?

I'm definitely glad I went for this one! It delivered on all fronts. Tanner was a gorgeous surfer who was coming home after avoiding it for 10 years. He'd been keeping his father's secrets for a decade, but now that his dad had passed away, he was free to return to his mother and sister. Except that the past didn't quite stay in the past, and there was still a lot to deal with.

Then there was Avalon, the best friend of Tanner's younger sister, Sage. I really liked her! She was spunky and ambitious and adorable. Sage was awesome, too! I didn't get as much interaction with her as I would've liked, though. I really hope she gets her own book! Preferably one where she is paired with Jack, a surfer who maybe possibly has feelings for her? But we don't actually know; at this point, I'm speculating wildly along with Avalon, but I'm definitely crossing my fingers.

I went into this book expecting there to be lots of tortured I-want-you-but-I-shouldn't glances and smoldering chemistry, but Brown actually surprised me by switching it up! And while I do have a gargantuan small soft spot some forbidden love drama, the best friend's older brother thing didn't really come into play that much. It was a factor in the beginning, but they treated it like adults, and I respected and even liked that. It was more of a problem that they were working together, with Avalon trailing him in the month before the big surfing competition.

While there wasn't forbidden angst, one thing Riding the Wave definitely delivered in spades was chemistry. Yowza! Avalon and Tanner had good build up, and I half expected my Nook to start shorting out when they decided holding out wasn't for them because hello. I also enjoyed the friendship aspect between them and appreciated that it wasn't just sex holding them together.

I enjoyed the book overall, but I did have a couple issues. While I knew that there was family drama and understood the reasons for it, it got a little repetitive after a while. I also think the phrase "apples of the cheeks" was used way too much, especially given that it doesn't really feel like a 31-year-old surfer kind of thing to think. But I've always disliked that phrase, so I'm probably a little biased.

One of my favorite things is that Brown hit the perfect balance when creating the surfing atmosphere. I definitely got the surfing feel, but I also wasn't bombarded by terms or bored to death by action paragraphs I didn't understand. Overall, Riding the Wave was a hit! It definitely made me want to take up surfing, which would be a feat given that I'm about as landlocked as it is possible for a person to be. But one day! Until then, I'll just go watch Blue Crush and Gidget, which is about as close to surfing as I get.
The past ten years of the waves down under hadn’t been home to Tanner Wright, not like the gray-green swells of San Sebastian.

Because some people in this world are broken, and some are not. Some of us have broken pieces and we need to find somewhere to fit them into.

If she ever started thinking about his mouth too much, all the she had to do was remind herself of his near-shithead status. Easy peasy.

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