The Summer Deal: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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From New York Times best-selling author Jill Shalvis comes a friends-to-frenemies-to-sisters story....
Add in a few secrets. Shake. Stir. Then listen on a lazy summer day at the beach.
Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that’s left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone.
And then there’s Kinsey Davis who, after battling serious health issues her entire 29 years of life, is tired of hoping for...well, anything. She's fierce, tough, and she’s keeping more than one bombshell of a secret from Brynn - her longtime frenemy.
But then Brynn runs into Kinsey's best friend, Eli, renewing her childhood crush. The good news: He’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell. The bad news: when he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it’ll result in finding a piece of herself she didn’t even know was missing. She could have real connections, possibly love, and a future - if she can only learn to let go of the past.
As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that’s right in front of them.
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|Listening Length||7 hours and 58 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 02, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #144,383 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2,739 in Family Life Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#5,506 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#11,779 in Contemporary Romance (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2020
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Famous last words…I mean thoughts…
Geez, my family can drive me insane with all their caring, thoughtful attentiveness and stuff. I swear my mother thinks I’m an idiot sometimes. She likes to forward me articles with helpful tips on finance, health, education, food, fashion, living with boys and a million other random subjects. It's like she's forgotten that she's already taught me how to be a good, law-abiding citizen with a brain in my head.
I should probably take all of that back but it sort of has a bit to do with The Summer Deal. See, a lot of this story is about dealing with your family whether it be the one you’re born into or the one you have made for yourself. By the end, it was very clear to me that it doesn’t matter if it’s born or made, they’ll always drive you insane but they do it because they care.
I really liked Brynn, Eli and Kinsey and found them to be extremely annoying. I think it is realistic to like characters but also find them frustrating too because nobody is perfect. In this case, Brynn is returning home from a failed relationship and she’s suffering from “I’m such an idiot” syndrome. Eli, well the poor bugger has, “my life goal is to take care of everyone else…” syndrome. And, finally, Kinsey has, “I’ll scratch your eyes out if you dare look at me with pity” syndrome. In other words, these three are MESSED UP!!
Now, you might be asking how we have three main characters but we’re not talking ménage. Well, Brynn and Eli are our love interests and Kinsey is connected to them both. I can honestly say, that Jill Shalvis does a fantastic job of convincing me that there are no romantic feelings between Eli and Kinsey, even though they have been connected since they were kids. Her way of convincing me is Deck. Wow!! I LOVED Deck! I may even be a little sad that this wasn’t Deck’s story. Not saying I didn’t enjoy Brynn and Eli's love story… but DECK. 😍
Story-wise, The Summer Deal was a wee bit emotional. This is the kind of story where all of your emotions take a rollercoaster ride. As with each instalment of the Wildstone series, this is not just a romance. The love and relationships are familial, friendly and romantic.
Brynn and Kinsey started out rocky because of old hurts, betrayals and secrets. Kinsey knew for years she had a sister and Brynn was completely blindsided when she found out.
Kinsey and Eli’s relationship, while mostly like a brother/sister, there was a lot more of Eli giving and Kinsey taking. This may come across as selfish on Kinsey’s part, but in some ways, she was giving Eli what he needed most. Someone to focus his shelter and protect nature on. Eli does have his little brother Max for that too, but Max is an adult and doesn’t need Eli as much anymore.
The relationship between Eli and Brynn was rocky to start with because they both had to learn to trust. This one probably needed the most work because Eli was keeping a bunch of secrets when they first got together. They weren’t his secrets to tell but it wasn’t a great way to start a relationship.
If I had one problem with the story, I’d have to say that Kinsey drove me crazy and Eli enabled her. There is NO WAY Eli should have let Kinsey keep her secrets from Brynn as long as she did. He was jeopardising his budding relationship by keeping his mouth shut. I’m not sure I would have been as forgiving as Brynn when all the truths had been shared. I get it, Kinsey was sick. I just found it frustrating that the secrets went on through the whole story.
Sorry, this was a wee bit of a rambling review. I really enjoyed reading The Summer Deal and I would have been quite happy if it went on and on and on. I loved the dynamics of the relationships and the closeness between them all. I loved Brynn’s Mums, Raina and Olive, Max, Eli’s brother, and Deck, Kinsey’s boyfriend, but not really boyfriend. I wanted more and I was sad when it came to the end.
If you’re a fan of Jill Shalvis, you will not be disappointed in The Summer Deal. While it was an emotional journey that at times brought a tear to my eye, I did finish with a big goofy smile on my face. I can’t wait for more in this series.
Stacey is Sassy, received an advanced copy of this story. The copy provided is not the final copy and may be subject to edits and changes.
My complaint about many of Shalvis' other romances, though, is that it often feels like the hero and heroine just have sex, argue, exchange a few lines of banter, have sex and argue again, and then magically end up declaring themselves happily ever after. In other words, it felt (to me!) like there was a conspicuous lack of emotional depth and connection. A friend of mine finished one of Shalvis's Animal Magnetism books and noted "I must have missed the part where the two main characters have an actual conversation---how can they be 'in love'?!"
The Wildstone series, which is more 'women's fiction' than pure romance, serves as the ideal remedy to that problem. Even though I get the complaints that some of the characters' emotional issues and obstacles are repeated too many times and in too overwrought a way, I actually like how Shalvis depicts that our flaws and challenges aren't just easily and immediately overcome. As a result, all of the relationships end up feeling deeper, stronger, and more meaningful to me---the romantic ones, but definitely not JUST the romantic ones.
The Summer Deal is my special favorite---well-drawn female characters, witty and insightful lines, family issues that are tangled and complex, and an almost ideal mix of humor and heartfelt emotion. Brynn is a really sensitive, anxiety-prone, warmhearted woman who's never quite fit in and, boy, do I ever relate :) Kinsey is a hilariously bitchy, prickly character with a secret heart of gold, and Shalvis tends to excel at writing those type of women. The sisterly bond that develops between Brynn and Kinsey is the highlight of this beautiful book. Sure, Jill Shalvis' heroes all still seem kind of flatly, blandly perfect in identical ways (though points to her for making Eli a marine biologist and hinting that he's a little geeky---my kind of guy!) But at least we don't get guys who are jerks for a full 95% of the novel and wholly undeserving of our heroines, which is a mistake that FAR too many of today's other romance novels seem to make!
The thing I love most about this series in general and this book in particular is - as lame as this will sound - the mood and frame of mind they invariably put me in. I can dissect and criticize individual components of the author's plotting and pacing and all that, but the bottom line is that reading these ultimately leaves me with this feeling of life-affirming contentment and an inspiring belief that even very flawed people can form deep connections and find real joy.
One quick note: the Wildstone series is a 'series' in only the very loosest sense of the word. All of these books take place in the same small town, but unless I've missed it, none of these novels contain any mention of characters from previous or future installments. I don't mind that they're all standalones, but those who love series due to the fact that they allow us to revisit with old friends from prior books should adjust their expectations accordingly :)