It has been quite a number of years since I read a book by this author. I'm not usually a fan of his fiction although I did enjoy The Last Song (book and movie) and I really liked The Bend in the Road. I've read several other ones but was not a fan of them as I just felt like they were too "sappy" or too perfect of an ending. Something about them bugged me anyways. So it's been a number of years since I've picked one up from the library.
I thought I'd try this one as I liked the story summary.
Maria Sanchez is the oldest daughter, single, and an attorney, of Felix and Carmen Sanchez who own a very well known and well loved family restaurant. Maria has a younger college-aged sister named Serena. They also have a large extended family. They live in the southeastern United States but her parents are originally from Mexico. Maria had a long term boyfriend all through college but is not currently dating although she isn't opposed to the idea. She just can't seem to find the right kind of guy.
Colin Hancock is a single guy with a violent past. He has made many bad decisions in his life and is somewhat estranged from his 2 older sisters and his parents. He has an apartment in town and his landlord is also his best friend Evan. Evan is engaged to a wonderful southern belle type of girl named Lily who is smart, stylish and always there for Colin. Colin is currently working at a popular tourist spot on the beach as a bartender while taking college classes towards a teaching degree. His hobby is working out and competing in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)events. He is not looking for a serious relationship.
One late evening during a raging thunderstorm, Maria and Colin meet on the side of the road when Maria's car breaks down. And this meeting will change the way their lives are going.
Maria has a traumatic past and someone is stalking her. When she and Colin begin to date, the past events soon lead to danger. The danger is not only for Maria but for anyone she is associated with. Will Colin help Maria figure out who is leaving her cryptic messages? As things escalate to the point where the police need to be involved, what lessons will Maria and Colin learn along this dangerous journey?
It was a predictable, rather bland story of love vs hate, good vs evil and although I did end up reading the entire story, I felt like it was too long, could be much shorter and still get the excitement in along with the romance and be done sooner. It also dealt with a bit of mental illness and violence.
I discovered that I'm really just not a fan of any kind of fiction that is more romance than anything else. It really was all too unbelievable too...the whole dark mental illness stuff, the way the perpetrator was dealt with...just too perfect once again.
The character development was very well done and that is what drives this book in my opinion. The author does a great job with describing each character's physical appearance, his/her back story, and his/her emotional involvement with what is happening in their lives.
I did like the rendering of the bonds that draw families together through trials and good times. I liked how the author wrote in themes of friendship and sisterhood, perseverance, forgiveness, letting go, and love.
I didn't care for the casual s*x approach although I do know that this "sells" current fiction of this genre. If the author had had the characters fall in love and stay chaste until marriage, this book would be a 9. I just am so tired of authors always assuming people will have s*x before marriage. But gee...I guess he had to write some flaws in Maria's character since she comes across as being so "perfect".
In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older.
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 7.