Sunday, October 5, 2014

HOLIDAY AT MAGNOLIA BAY -- a summary and opinion

*I received a free ARC of HOLIDAY AT MAGNOLIA BAY via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

Like most novellas, this was a quick and easy read. Also, like most novellas, it was a wham bam, thank you, ma'am, kind of romance. Sometimes these bother me, other times not. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it in this case but eh, whatever -- the story was cute, regardless.
Publication Date: October 20, 2014
After a mission goes terribly wrong, ending in the death of a teammate, Navy Seal, Drew Lanham, is forced to take a leave from active-duty. Retreating to his godmother’s beach house in coastal Magnolia Bay, Drew plans to spend the three weeks R&R licking his wounds and catching some rays while the nightmares from his failed op fade. The last thing he wants to do is mingle with the locals. What he doesn’t count on is an early morning encounter with a goddess rising from the sea. His interest is piqued and his body put on alert when he finds out that same woman may or may not be after his godmother’s money.

Marine biologist, Jenna Huntley, has been searching her whole life for a place to call home and Magnolia Bay is that place. Unfortunately, she’s underutilizing her education giving tours at the town’s turtle rescue center. With the help of an octogenarian patroness, she maps out a proposal to develop a turtle hatchery on-site. Everything is going as planned until the older woman’s godson arrives. Suddenly, nothing is as it seems and Jenna’s future is hanging in the balance, with a sexy warrior pulling all the strings. Her natural tendency is to help the damaged hero, but she’s sworn off letting military men in her life ever again.

Will Drew and Jenna be able to put their pasts behind them and learn to trust their hearts long enough to enjoy their Holiday at Magnolia Bay?
This book, what can I say about it...? It was a cute story. Nothing is better than a meddling family member (in this case, Aunt Evie) who wants to set up two of her favorite people -- her godson, Drew, and the girl who used to visit every year who is now working on a project hatchery, Jenna.
Meddling grandmother figures always seem to know what's what, and always seem to know when two people belong together. Evie isn't exactly the most subtle with the fact she wants these two together. However, Drew, being an active duty SEAL who loves his job, has his reasons against 'settling', and Jenna, the daughter of an admiral, has her reasons for nothing lasting longer than the days she and Drew have together.
"'Admiral and the Pentagon. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to be precise.' She watched as recognition dawned on his face before his mouth grew tight.
He raked a hand through his crisp hair. 'Tell me I didn’t just sleep with Hercules Huntley’s daughter.' The question was more of a command, his voice almost lethal.
She refused to be cowed, nearly laughing at the comical name that made her father seem human, as if that were possible. The admiral had been human once, though. Before Robbie died. Afterwards, he’d reverted back to the machine the Navy had molded him into. A lot like the man standing before him. 'It’s not exactly as though we did a lot of sleeping.'
Drew unleashed a barrage of obscenities as he did that head squeezing thing again. Jenna heaved a frustrated sigh.
'For crying out loud, it’s not like I’m going to be telling him I did the wild thing with one of his precious elite warriors!' She slammed one of the cabinets closed. 'Not that it would matter. My father hasn’t listened to a word I’ve said in— never mind.'
When she looked up, he was piercing her with that all-knowing direct stare that always seemed to unnerve her. She tried to keep her own gaze unflinching, but he was going to defend her father. Tell her what a great man, a great officer, he was. That’s what they always did. Put the blame on Jenna for not measuring up. For not being Robbie. 'So last night, was I just a tool to get back at Daddy?'
.... 'But I’d hate for him to lose respect for you because of your taste in women.'
Something dark flared in Drew’s eyes before he tamped it down.
... 'Don't ever say that about yourself,' he demanded, his voice a low growl. 'Any man would be lucky to have you.'
Aw, he's so sweet for caring, even though he really doesn't (want to).


Drew is pulled to Jenna like no other female has drawn him in, even though initially he isn't sure of her motives. She and her Australian colleagues must only be after Evie for her money. He can't fathom Jenna actually being friends with Evie without an ulterior motive. As time passes, though, he's convinced Jenna's not the money-bag lady he initially pegs her for.

One night, Drew watches a bunch of turtle hatchlings (at a nesting site he saw with Jenna days prior), and can't help but wish he'd brought both Evie and Jenna with him.

I mean, c'mon, it's quite the spectacle to see...


In the end, I'm torn with this story. Was it cute? Absolutely.
Believable....? Kinda sorta, yeah... Yeah, it is.
Was it written in a fashion I feel all novellas are, and therefore aren't necessarily my favorite read? Yeppers..! Had this been a full-length novel, with more depth to it, I think I would have liked it a ton more. As it was... I just don't like the rushed-ness.
...the ending is still super cute. Way to pull up those big-boy pants, SEAL, and stand up to her father.
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