May 29, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Summer Days by Susan Mallery (Fool’s Gold #7)

Contemporary Romance
May 29 2012
Mass Market Paperback
376 pages
HQN books
Received from NetGalley

Yummy Man – Rafe Stryker
Kick Ass Chick – Heidi Simpson

From Goodreads –
Locked in an unexpected land dispute, Rafe Stryker is trapped in the one place he vowed never to return to – the Castle Ranch in Fool’s Gold, California. He made millions facing ruthless adversaries in the boardroom, but nothing could’ve prepared him to go head-to-head against stubborn, beautiful Heidi Simpson. No one is more surprised than Rafe to discover that he’s finding Heidi – and life as a cowboy – much more compelling than he wants to admit. For Heidi, the Castle Ranch is the home she’s always wanted. After a life on the road, the vivacious blonde has finally put down roots. She won’t give that up without a fight, not even for a man whose late-night kisses make her yearn to be a little less…wholesome. As the two turn from passionate adversaries to passionate, period, they’ll discover that summer love can last a lifetime.


(Just a heads up before I begin my review:  I am not going to write actual spoilers in this review (as in I will not tell you about how things turn out) but I will be talking about many events that occurred in the book.)

Summer Days is the seventh book in Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series.  I have not read the previous books and I didn’t feel as though I was missing any vital information.  I deem this book a stand-alone.  I have heard countless wonderful things about this author – her contemporaries are favorites among many bloggers.  So when I saw Summer Days up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it.  And even though I enjoyed the author’s voice (which was a tad repetitive but otherwise quite lovely), I didn’t enjoy the “gaps” in the characters feelings when it came to many of the events in this story.

Let me explain.

First off, let’s meet the major characters:  Heidi is the main heroine.  Glen is her grand-father.  May is a lovely yet an odd sort of woman and Rafe is May’s eldest son, the book’s main hero and a super rich and successful business developer. The book begins with Rafe heading back to the town he grew up in, Fool’s Gold, in order to help his mother deal with a little issue.  Of course this issue isn’t little, but the way most people react to it you would think it was a tiny little insignificant thing.  You see, Heidi owns a ranch.  She has never really known what it was like being settled in one spot (thanks to her carnie upbringing) and finally buys a ranch where she raises eight goats.  She sells goat milk soap and cheese.  She lives there with her grand-father, the man who raised her since the age of three after her parents passed away.  This ranch is her first real home.  She is super happy.  You with me so far?  Okay.  Glen’s friend was diagnosed with cancer and needed treatment to live.  At his age, he couldn’t get insurance so he was basically dead.  Glen couldn’t let that happen so he “pretend” sold Heidi’s ranch to May for $250,000.  After handing over the money, May shows up to claim the property only to see that she’s been swindled by Glen.  Heidi is a little ticked but can’t seem to be too upset because Glen is her grand-father and he took her in when she was just a toddler and blah blah blah.

Yeah, and he’s also the man who just sold YOUR home to someone and doesn’t see anything wrong with what he did!!!

May is all “Oh, that’s okay.  I’m sure we can work something out” and Heidi is all “Oh that Glen.  He’s always doing things like this.  He has such a big heart though” and Glen is all “Ooo May is some woman.  I like her.*wink wink*”  All the while, Rafe is having a stroke and can’t believe he’s even walked into this situation!

I think Rafe is the only one here with any sense.  While I appreciate that no one wanted to make a big deal out of this and want to settle this out of court (well, everyone but Rafe), I didn’t understand the characters reaction.  At all.

And that’s not all I didn’t understand.

The lot of them are told by a judge that until she has time to review this properly, they must all work together and see if a solution can be reached.  (By the way, I would love for a real judge or lawyer to read this book and to tell me if any of what the judge says or does makes any sense, from having everyone involved ‘work things out for now’ to her holding Heidi responsible for her grand-father’s actions.  I honestly wonder if that would happen for realz.)  So after hearing the judges temporary decision, May decides to move into the ranch house (with Rafe of course who at this point just wants to go home to San Francisco to resume his successful busy glamorous life) and decides to go all out and renovate the ranch.  The fence, the barn…name it, May is fixing it.  Oh, and she buys an elephant.  An elephant!  And no one tells her “you’re a little crazy May”.  She really is a sweet character but I just didn’t understand why it was okay for her to blow so much money on stuff and more stuff all the time without having to really explain herself!  She’s lived a crap life and she deserves happiness for sure.  But c’mon!  An elephant!

And the final thing that really really bothered me was Heidi’s little plan.  Everyone has plans for the ranch.  Heidi finds out Rafe’s ideas for the land and realizes that she needs to stall his plans so in order to have a little more time to convince the judge that she can pay May back.  (Why she is stuck paying back is beyond me too.  It was Glen’s mistake yet Heidi is suffering from it.  And not once does she go ape-sh*t on his a**!)  Heidi’s plan is well…stupid.  It didn’t really advance the story at all.  All it did really was show the reader that Heidi’s friends are crazy for suggesting the idea in the first place and that Heidi, when desperate, will listen to anything.

That is all the detail I am going to give you.  There is more to this story of course.  There is a matchmaker and a travelling carnival and family feuds and reconciliations and lots of past heartache and many lessons about love.  All stuff you expect to see in a romance books.  Well, except maybe the carnies.  You wouldn’t really expect that but they did make sense in the larger scope of the story I suppose.

I liked Rafe’s character.  Don’t get me wrong here:  Rafe is a jerk.  But his character grows so much in this book, it’s great to watch.  His story line actually made the most sense.  May is cute but a little much.  Glen…I just wanted to shake him and ask him why he shows no real remorse for what he did.  Oh, he says sorry and all that but he never really seems to mean it.  That REALLY bothered me.  Remorse is one of the most important things you can teach a person.  Children need to understand that there are consequences for their actions and that if you hurt someone by doing something, YOU must be held accountable.  Glen apparently missed that lesson while growing up.  And Heidi…  I quite liked her but that one plan of hers really soiled my opinion of her.  But other than that, I liked her.  She’s spunky.

I enjoyed the romance in Summer Days.  It’s a slow and naturally built romance.  No one jumps anyone at the first sign of a penis.  It was sweet and, in a crazy sort of way, Rafe and Heidi made a very good match.

I will most likely try another one of Susan’s books sometime soon.  I did like her writing and her romance.  I just didn’t like how the characters almost seemed numb over things that most normal people would be infuriated by.  The next book in the series, Summer Nights, is Shane (Rafe’s brother) and Annabelle’s (the local librarian and Heidi’s friend) story.  I really liked Shane in Summer Days and I am very curious about him.  I may give his book a try.  (I’m assuming there will be no elephants in his story.)

As for Summer Days, I feel most people will find it adorable.  There is a secondary romance that it actually sort of cute…in an odd twisted sort of way.  The characters are endearing even if they are frustrating.  What I am saying is that just because I didn’t love the book doesn’t mean you won’t.  If you are a fan of Ms Mallery’s books, give it a try.  Then email me and tell me if I’m the only one who was driven bonkers by the characters reactions to things and by Glen’s lack of remorse.

2.5 stars

  1. Yep. I love Susan Mallery, but this plot was too far-fetched for me too. I gave it a B and that was totally based off the basis of the story line. I enjoyed reading it, but OMG…who does this?? No one! It could have so easily been an A rated book with a few twists to the basic story. smiles….

  2. Thank you! I no longer feel alone 😉 I keep going to Goodreads to check if someone gives it less than 4 stars… I’m a fan of the author but she dropped the ball big time here.

  3. Christi – Wow…we sort of agree on a book! lol

    Brie – You are not the only one. At all. 😉

  4. I love Susan Mallery & Fool’s Gold!! Rafe & Heidi has a great chemistry together even though they are both stubborn. I feel so bad for Heidi, who finally has a home of her own. Rafe swore he would never go back to Fool’s Gold, but he did it for his mother. I love May. She was something else! If you are looking for a good romance book, then this is it! You won’t be disappointed! I can not wait to read Summer Nights! My plan is to read it on my side deck that over looks the city. I want to read it at night so I can see the city lights. It releases which is June 26th!!

  5. Melissa M says:

    I super loved this book! It is a great kick off to 2012 Fool’s Gold!! Thank you Susan for another great story and I can’t wait for Summer Nights in 6 days!! 🙂

  6. Stephanie G says:

    Nice review! Summer Days was such a fun story. Made me LOL several times. I loved Heidi and Rafe!

  7. Since June, I have also read Summer Nights. It has became my favorite of all of the Fool’s Gold books. Summer Nights is another great summer read. Annabelle is caring, a great friend, & so sweet! I love that Annabelle wanted to learn how to ride a horse for her fundraiser for her bookmobile. There is 1 thing that I absolutely love a lot & it has to do with Shane, but I am not going to give it away. In Summer Nights, we find out more about Heidi & Rafe’s story!!

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