Sunday 13 December 2015


The Road to Paradise is never easy

After a year on the coast, Lexie Atkinson can't settle back into country life. She’s missing the glitzy, gritty nightlife of the big city and the group of misfit friends she’d loved to hate. She knows to move forward she has to go back – back to face the guy who stole her heart.

But when Lexie arrives in Paradise City to work out if her future includes bad-boy surfer, Luke Ballantine, he is nowhere to be found.

With no home, no money and no Luke, Lexie gets a job slinging drinks at the wild Wipe Out Bar. Soon her heartache is eased when broody bar owner, Dean Saville, starts taking an interest and stirs more than just her drinks. But nothing is ever as it seems in Paradise City and when Luke barrels back into town, Lexie has a choice to make. But who will end up with the broken heart: Luke, Dean … or Lexie?

Last week I read and really enjoyed PARADISE CITY. Actually, I loved it. So as soon as I received the second book, I got stuck into it. I couldn't wait to find out how Lexie's story would end.

Lexie Atkinson has gone back to Red Hill and is heartbroken after Luke Ballantine pretty much dumped her without giving her a chance to explain what the note he read and misunderstood really meant. And what makes matters worse is that her aunty and uncle are moving away from Paradise City, so she won't be going back to finish her last year of high school there. Except, she's almost eighteen and thanks to her zany uncle's idea, she proposes a crazy plan to her parents.

They give her a couple of weeks to find a place to live and get a job to support herself in Paradise City. If she does that, she'll be able to stay there and finish school on her own. However, as soon as she arrives things turn sour. Luke has left Paradise City, her cousin has become friends with Lexie's nemesis, and the only place that comes remotely close to offering her a job is the Wipe Out Bar. The dive owned by Luke's half-brother, Dean Saville. The same guy who looks good but is so frustrating they spend most of the time bickering.

Still, she gives it a go and winds up getting herself into one bad situation after another. How's she supposed to concentrate on school if she can't even get her life straight outside of it? If she can stay out of trouble for just a minute, maybe she'll work it out...

You know what? I didn't enjoy this installment as much as the first.

When I started reading, I once again found myself charmed by Lexie's voice and was instantly hooked into her story. But when she moves to Paradise City and starts on an awkward road back to recapture what she loved about the place so much, I started to realise that the story wasn't working for me. There was something missing. The awesomeness of the first book was gone, replaced with something else. All of a sudden I started to find Lexie's klutzy actions and inability to stay out of trouble, silly, selfish and immature. Whereas she soldiered on through all the ups and downs before, now she was totally unravelling and becoming whiny. I didn't like the person she was becoming.

Not to mention that her friend Laura practically disappeared and instead somehow became as unappealing as Amanda & Co were in Book 1. But worst of all was that I didn't buy the romance. No matter how hard I tried to get into it, I just couldn't. Mainly it was because I didn't like Dean. I didn't like him in the first book, and I certainly didn't like him in this one. He's smug and arrogant, a total jerk she doesn't even get along with. Yet (somehow) finds herself attracted to. Nope. Couldn't believe that. I have no problem with relationships that start from two people not liking each other and then one day realising it was because they're so into each other, but this was not an example of that. At all. 

And Luke? Well, after a whole book of dreaming about him and building him up to be the perfect guy... he became background dressing. A way to push her towards his brother. What about school? It became something that was hardly mentioned. Almost forgotten in her quest to take over a bar she doesn't even own. :/

It was a shame, but this one just didn't work for me.

Paradise Road is an entertaining, well-written book that will keep you interested in Lexie's troublemaking adventures. If you enjoyed the first one as much as I did, it's worth giving this one a go. What happens here might work for you, but it might not. I can't help but feel like this shouldn't have been a duology, and rather, a stand-alone with a HEA. But that's just me.

Oh, and one more thing: the cover didn't work for me either. I liked the previous covers a lot more.

Paradise Road, November 2015, ISBN 99780733633898, Hachette Australia

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