Today is my turn on the blog tour for Blue Hawaiian by Carla Luna. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part, and to the author for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
The first rule of serving as the maid of honor at your perfect sister’s destination wedding?
No mistakes. The second rule? No drama.
For Jess Chavez, a week in Maui is hardly a dream vacation—not when her sister expects her to be the perfect maid of honor. Not only does Jess have to fake perfection, but she can’t let anyone know she’s unemployed and barely scraping by. Above all, she needs to steer clear of Connor Blackwood, the sexy groomsman who broke her heart five years ago.
A family wedding offers Connor the ideal opportunity to convince everyone he’s no longer an irresponsible playboy. If they see he’s changed, they might support his decision to leave the family winery and strike out on his own. With so much at stake, the last thing he needs is an alluring distraction like Jess.
When Jess and Connor end up together, exploring the island’s lush, tropical beauty, the sparks between them become impossible to ignore. Throwing caution to the wind, they decide to make their own rules.
Five days of passion. No strings. No tears. No promises.
What could possibly go wrong?
I don’t read a lot of romance focused on the American market. Their tastes in love stories tend to towards the saccharine, which doesn’t always appeal to the more cynical British sensibilities, and I normally prefer something a little more realistic (I know some people will argue that UK-focused romance books are also unrealistic, that’s a debate for a different post!). However, Blue Hawaiian, is a different type of book, and one I enjoyed much more than the sugar-sweet options.
The story is told from the perspectives of two protagonists, Jess and Connor, who have known each other since they were children. The couple have a chequered romantic history, so being thrown together at a tense family wedding was always going to be stressful, never mind that they are both the black sheep of their respective families who have the burden of trying to show they are being responsible to their relatives for different reasons.
So far, so great. We have troubled romantic history, a wedding, family tensions and the beautiful setting of Hawaii to satisfy the armchair traveller in me. Jess and Connor are both young and attractive, and the sexual tension between them crackles off the page, so all the elements for a great romance are there.
The author has done a fantastic job in this book of drawing some wonderful characters. I absolutely loved Jess, who is ballsy and strong and independent, yet still riddled with flaws and doubts and behaves imperfectly. Connor is sexy and flawed, but fundamentally a good person, and they are obviously meant to be together, so watching them bumble about getting it wrong is frustrating and entertaining in the way all great romances are. I identified strongly with Jess’s stressed, perfectionist older sister Gabi, absolutely adored Brody, and thought the family relationships were drawn very honestly. The book had plenty of action and tension throughout, so it kept rolling along at an entertaining pace, with no flaccid periods.
The book is quite raunchy in places, so don’t be expecting a sweet romance and people who don’y like steamy scenes will need to avoid those. I personally enjoyed it and thought like it was an honest portrayal of how young people feel and behave. The whole book was a refreshing change for me, because it is obviously not a romance written by a British writer, but was not the overly-cute American love story that you often find. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Fresh, sparky and sexy, a very entertaining read.
Blue Hawaiian is out now in ebook and paperback formats, and you can buy a copy here.
Make sure to visit some of the other blogs taking part in the tour:
About the Author
Carla Luna writes contemporary romance with a dollop of humor and a pinch of spice. A former archaeologist, she still dreams of traveling to far-off places and channels that wanderlust into the settings of her stories. When she’s not writing, she works in a spice emporium where she gets paid to discuss food and share her favorite recipes. Her passions include Broadway musicals, baking, whimsical office supplies, and pop culture podcasts. Though she has roots in Los Angeles and Victoria, B.C., she currently resides in Wisconsin with her family and her spoiled Siberian cat.
Connect with Carla:
Facebook: Carla Luna Author