Published on June 27, 2017 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Lili Howe took a leap of faith when she decided to join the Tornado Alleycats, her elderly landlady’s all-female glamour-camping club. Lili’s always given everything to her career, putting herself on track to become her CPA firm’s youngest partner. But now that Lili’s carefully planned future is shattered, she’s willing to let summer work its magic on her―at all costs.
There’s never a dull moment at Stardance Ranch, the Colorado resort Brick Callahan built from the ground up. Still, a late night skinny-dipping session involving a bunch of “glamping” grannies. . .with his best friend’s kid sister Lili among them? He couldn’t have made up such story if he tried. The undeniable mutual attraction between Brick and gorgeous, spirited Lili is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when Brick’s ex-girlfriend suddenly shows up, he’s faced with a desperate choice: Do right by a woman he once loved or take a chance on Lili. . .and do everything he can to win her heart?
Totally didn’t realize this was book 13 in a series. Having not read the previous twelve books, I didn’t feel too lost which bodes well for the book. The series follows the Callahan family as each of them finds love and this time around it’s Brick’s turn.
A Stardance Summer includes a prologue that completely threw me for a loop. There’s a character mentioned named Mark Christopher and, having read enough romances to know the foreshadowing, I swore that would be the love interest. Then suddenly this Brick Callahan character appears and I’m flipping back and forth trying to figure it out.
They’re the same person, for the record. The whole name thing is explained but if you’re confused when you start it, that’s what’s going on.
Moving on… I’ve never read a romance set at a camp before. Like, the whole story revolves around it which led to several funny moments.
First, the Tornado Alleycats. A bunch of older women who go camping together. I swear they must have all been inspired by Betty White because they were absolutely hilarious! From talking about “mommy porn” 50 Shades of Gray to deciding which is the hottest Lord of the Rings actor, and even the opening of skinny dipping in the lake, there’s never a dull moment. I especially loved their resilient leader, Patsy, who acts as a sort of grandmother/role model figure for Lili.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Lili at first. Her life’s a mess so she pulls a 360 and starts doing everything she’d never do and gets really reckless in the “maybe you need to tone it down a bit” way. But she’s caring and fierce and a fun leading lady in this romance. I love the themes of finding yourself that resonate from her as well as some of the other characters.
But she’s stubborn. And Mark/Brick is stubborn. Like insanely so.
First off, I did like Brick’s character. Mostly. He’s the best friend of Lili’s brother and often plays the overprotective “your brother would kill me if I didn’t watch out for you” role. But some of his decisions had me grinding my teeth because he was being too bull-headed. Most of the issues between these two come down to stubbornness from both characters, but especially Brick, and it started driving me nuts after a while because there was just no reason for it. He’s supposedly still getting over an ex but I never really saw that until closer to the end.
All that aside, I liked that the romance wasn’t an instant lust-to-love. The ending was terribly cliche but the actual relationship between them was built up in a way that rang true for me. It’s not always nice or sweet but it’s real.
With a strong writing style and enjoyable characters, I definitely can see myself reading more from March in the future, and I might even go back to read the rest of this series because some of the scenes with Brick’s family were confusing at times (makes sense now knowing that all of those relationships are fleshed out in previous books). A fun read, worked as a standalone as well as part of a series, and looking forward to more from March in the future!