Review: The Summer He Came Home by Juliana Stone (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #1)
April 2 2013
Mass Market Paperback
Received from publisher via NetGalley
Yummy Man – Cain
Kick Ass Chick – Maggie
From Goodreads –
Sometimes the best place to find love is right back where you started…
Falling asleep in a different bed every night has made it easy for Cain Black to forget his past. It’s been ten years since he packed his guitar and left Crystal Lake to chase his dreams. Now tragedy has forced him home again. And though Cain relishes the freedom of the road, one stolen moment with Maggie O’Rourke makes him wonder if he’s missing out on something bigger than fame.
For Maggie—single mother and newly settled in Crystal Lake—love is a luxury she just can’t afford. Sure, she appreciates the tall, dark and handsome looks of prodigal son Cain Black. But how long can she expect the notorious hellion to stay?
The last thing either of them wants is something complicated. But sometimes love has its own plans.
*dreamy sigh* What a wonderful book. This is the first book I that I have read by Juliana Stone and for sure it won’t be my last. She has a lovely writing voice and it suited this story perfectly.
The Summer He Came Home is the first book in Juliana’s Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series. Now, these aren’t ‘bad boys’ in your usual “motorcycle-gang-guys” sense. They aren’t even “crazy Dom guys who only care about what they want” bad boys. They are a close group of friends who grew up together and managed to get into a bit of trouble when they were young. And you know how it is in a small town – at least in a small town in a romance book: boys can never outrun the memories of the high-jinx they pulled when they were young.
The first chapter is heavy. Lots of mood setting and tone setting. It takes place at a post funeral reception after a close friend dies. I was worried for a second that this whole book would prove heavy but it didn’t. This first chapter sets up the ‘why’ behind the entire series so the ‘heavy’ was necessary. So expect to be sad but know that it is all worth it.
The Summer He Came Home is about how Cain returns to him hometown after being away for years. When he was young, he was a bit of a trouble maker but a solid friend. Now he’s an up-coming guitar superstar with a snotty ex-wife and some serious insecurities. He meets Maggie his first day back – and one meeting is all it took for Cain to know there was no going back.
Maggie is running. She is running from (and for) her life and landed in Crystal Lake with her son. She is doing what she needs to in order to get by and to give her son what he needs: a home filled with love and security. She is nervous and scared but extremely brave and strong.
Plain and simple, I adored these characters. From the moment you meet them, you can’t help but like them. They are flawed and damaged but not too much. Cain is such a sweetheart and Maggie is such a fighter. And her son is so well written!
I thought about this book for a few days after I finished reading it. Not because it left a bad taste in my mouth or anything like that. It was because the characters just dug their way into me and didn’t want to let go. I caught myself smiling and realized it was because I was thinking of a particular scene with Cain and Michael (Maggie’s son). Then I found myself swooning and realize I had been thinking about a scene with Cain and Maggie. I was even finding myself thinking about the side characters and wondering how their lives were going to be when they get their own books. There is the young widow and I can’t figure out who she’ll end up with! All that to say that this book is so well written it stayed with me afterward. And when you read as many books as I do that is saying something because usually, the brain just jumps to the next book in the planner.
The relationship between Cain and Maggie was perfectly written. Cain has been burned in the past and Maggie is still living with what happened to her in her last relationship. A relationship where both the hero and heroine were all hot and bothered for each other immediately and suck face the instant they meet wouldn’t have worked with these two. It would have felt forced. But Cain and Maggie’s dance was so lovely and watching them get comfortable with each other, watching Maggie learn to trust Cain, was so sweet…and so natural.
The story in The Summer He Came Home is mostly about Cain and Maggie and how they learn that love isn’t all bad but it’s also about friends coping with the loss of someone special, and friends just trying to deal with life in general. To move on. It’s the beginning of the journey these characters are going to be taking throughout this series and I can’t wait to keep going alongside them. The second book, The Christmas He Loved Her, is releasing October 1st 2013 and I already have it marked in my planner.
The Summer He Came Home is an incredible book because it has heart. Juliana did a great job with this one. The characters are instantly likable and the story will warm your heart. I strongly recommend this book to all fans of contemporary romance.
Books in the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series –
The Summer He Came Home
The Christmas He Loved Her (October 2013)
The Day He Kissed Her (April 2014)