Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: The Red Bikini (Sandy Cove #1) by Lauren Christopher

The Red Bikini
Series: Sandy Cove #1
Genre: Contemp Romance
Series: Sandy Cove #1
Genre: Contemp Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 7/1/14
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars
A sparkling debut romance where a getaway vacation turns into an unexpected new beginning……

For the last five years, Giselle McCabe’s life has been about sippy cups and playdates. But when her husband suddenly leaves her, Giselle flees to her sister’s California beach house for a two-week getaway. Out of her element, she’s surprised to receive such a warm welcome—especially from gorgeous celebrity athlete Fin Hensen……

Fin is escaping his pro tour for a season, trying to lie low until all the hubbub over a huge mistake in his past blows over. And when he sets his sights on Giselle, he realizes that the beautiful good girl just might be the ticket to his success.

 But Giselle never expected romance to enter the picture again—especially with a hot twenty-something from a completely different world. And even though it feels like Fin is everything she’s trying to run away from, she can’t help coming back for more……

My Review
I went into The Red Bikini expected a fun summer romance. What I got was a summer romance that was sexy, transformative and inspiring. For me, The Red Bikini was a great summer romance, but also held strong Women's Fiction elements of life changes and the heroine's personal growth, although our hero Fin undergoes quite a few changes himself.
After a painful marriage that was filled with her husband's infidelities, capped by his abandonment four years prior, Giselle escapes to her sister's home in Sandy Cove, California, with her daughter in tow. Her first encounter is with the oddly charming Rabbit, her sister's neighbor and daughter's new surf instructor. Rabbit introduces Giselle to Fin, a world-renowned pro surfer. With his amazing looks and broody personality, Giselle is attracted to Fin, but assumes someone with bikini-clad women at his disposal would never be interested in someone like her. With the benefit of having Fin's point-of-view as well, we learn that the broody and elusive Fin is also attracted to Giselle, despite knowing he'd be no good for her. This mutual attraction sets The Red Bikini off on course for a romantic, transformative relationship between two people who couldn't seem more wrong, but are so very right for each other.
Fin and Giselle's "relationship" begins as a mutually beneficial partnership. He needs a responsible, safe woman to convince he's sponsors he's a good investment. Giselle needs a sexy man to show her ex she's moved on. They both put the other into a neat little box, labeled with their expectations. But, Fin isn't just the wild, handsome pro surfer. He's someone who's always lived a nomadic life, suddenly finding himself longing for a home. Giselle doesn't want to simply be a safe, responsible woman who bakes cookies and makes school runs. Her husband forced her into a lonely life, and now she wants to be sexy and free, to take chances. The guilt they each face at their initial assumptions and they roles the give each other was a nice touch by the author. I like that she dug deep into Fin and Giselle, and forced me dig as well.
Fin was sexy and mysterious, and it doesn't take long to figure out here's troubled. And troubling. I was initially excited for Fin and Giselle to connect. Then I learned his reasons and I wanted to tell Giselle to keep her distance, to protect her heart. And then I wanted to duck under my covers. There's a power exceeding alluring people have, and as with Spider Man, it comes with great responsibility not to jack other people up just because you're beautiful and you can. What I'm saying is, I was afraid Fin would dick around with Giselle's heart and I was not at all cool with that. 

As it turns out Fin's more honorable than nefarious,when it comes to Giselle. After a strained ten-year marriage, Giselle has become a paler shell of her former self. When she meets Fin, she's overwhelmed by him. He's beautiful, young and mysterious. How could a man like him ever want a woman like her? Giselle has a prim appearance, Grace Kelly-esque sophistication and innocence that intrigues Fin. He wants to see her in her prim pajamas, and then he wants to take them off. Fin wants Giselle, not despite her controlled and elegant exterior, but because of it.
Fin and Giselle have so much to work through if they want the happy ever after. Fin must determine whether he wants to continue his solitary life, whether he wants to continue surfing at the professional level, whether he is willing to grab the chance of a life with Giselle. As for Giselle, she's been burned badly. Fin's feelings for her aren't truly in question, but after her painful marriage and divorce she needs someone who wants to be with her, home and with a family. The last part of the book was so difficult because I did want Fin and Giselle together so badly, but how could they bridge the distance. It wasn't easy in the slightest, but it was so worth it.
The more time I've had to consider The Red Bikini, the more I loved it. I loved that I couldn't predict the characters and the story, that I couldn't take for granted how it would end. The author pulled me so thoroughly into Fin and Giselle's story, and I haven't forgotten a moment of it since. The next book in the Sandy Cove series appears to center on Giselle's sister, Lia. I can't wait for more!

Favorite Quotes

  "Fin," she whispered.  
  "What do you need?" He covered her hand, right there in her lap, then let go quickly and dipped his head to try to meet her downcast eyes. He smelled so good--like intrigue and dubious morality. It sent a delicious shiver down her arms.
  She was anxious about missing him. He made her feel accepted in a way she hadn't felt in years--so unlikely, yet there it was. A twenty-eight-year-old pro surfer in California, making her feel she was good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, and even a good enough mother--when it was all she'd been looking for from everyone she knew all her adult life.

About the author
Lauren ChristopherLauren Christopher writes funny, sexy contemporary romances that take place in California's most secret and romantic settings. ...

After graduating with an English degree from UCLA, Lauren launched a 23-year career as a nonfiction writer and editor -- writing more than 100 newspaper, magazine, and online articles on everything from the history of auto racing to the origins of Santa Claus.

Her first California romance – THE RED BIKINI, set in fictional “Sandy Cove” – is slated for July 2014 with Berkley Sensation, to be followed by a second Sandy Cove book in March 2015.

Lauren lives in Southern California with her husband and three teenage children.

 photo AndreaSig_zps3f75055b.jpg


  1. You've convinced me that I need to read this book. I wasn't sure at first, but it sounds like so much more than I thought it was. Wonderful review! Thanks for sharing.

  2. This looks like such a great read, Andrea. I love the sound of the characters and I love how this is so much more than just a romance novel. Both the characters look like they undergo some growing up, which doesn't happen often in adult romance books. I'm glad you loved this one so much.
    Beautiful review!

  3. Second chance in love is always good esp if your second chance is as hot as this Fin dude. That will show her ex who lucked out!

  4. I love books with lots of character growth. I keep staring at this one sitting on my desk every time you post about it. I wish I had time to just read it today.

  5. So this was almost perfect? Yay! I feel so bad for Giselle, but I'm glad that she'll finally have something good in her life. Love dual POVs so ut's good to know that Fin's POV offers a great deal more to with novel than just Giselle's POV could on its own. Fin sounds absolutely delicious and I'm glad that he's honorable and a good guy. So happy you enjoyed, Andrea!

  6. This book definitely sound different to what I would normally read, but I'm glad that there were lots of surprises instore for you too Andrea. Finn and Giselle do sound like wonderful characters and ones whose story I would love to read about! Fab review!

  7. This sounds like such a good read. It's always great when a book keeps you wondering. Great review.

  8. Uuuuugggghhhh!!! This sounds sooo good! I love the single mother schtick!

  9. And here I was, trying to find a good summer romance. There, I should have just asked you, huh? ;) I truly love when you can't predict both characters and story. If you can't take anything for granted, then you know you have a very good book in your hands! Thanks for your great review, Andrea!


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