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review 2019-01-22 21:46
Coast Guard Sweetheart (Coast Guard #2) by Lisa Carter
Coast Guard Sweetheart (Love Inspired Large Print) - Lisa Carter

Second Chance Sailor: When coast guard officer Sawyer Kole is stationed again in Kiptohanock, Virginia, he's ready to prove to Honey Duer that he's a changed man and the right man for her. But it's not smooth sailing when a hurricane blows their way. To save the family inn she's restored to perfection, Honey will ride out the storm. But can she handle the turbulence of seeing Sawyer again? Years ago he walked away, taking her dreams of love. Now as Hurricane Zelda barrels down, Honey may have no choice but to trust Sawyer to save her life and just maybe her heart.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Picking up several years after where Lisa Carter's Coast Guard Courtship left off, Coast Guard Sweetheart revisits one of the side stories from the first book: that of Honey (sister of Amelia from Book 1, *Honey's real name is Beatrice, but picked up the nickname due to her hair color) and that fouled up romance Amelia's beau Braeden helped Honey push through. The troublemaker guy in that scenario, Coast Guard Petty Officer Sawyer Kole, is back in town (with Braeden as his boss) and wants to make things right between him and Honey.

 

Wouldn't you know, she doesn't want to hear it! Or so she's trying to convince herself. Wouldn't you want to hear what story was behind a former flame abandoning you three years earlier? Not the least bit curious, Honey? You KNOW she is! But she's in no rush to give him the satisfaction. Their re-acquaintance comes about via a pretty funny food fight (but SUCH a waste of donuts!). But the two have no choice but to put differences aside and work together when their town faces the arrival of Hurricane Zelda and Honey's newly restored inn sits right in the line of fire. 

 

Having thoroughly enjoyed Lisa Carter's first installment in this series, I was really looking forward to seeing where the characters ended up here. Though all the elements seemed to be in place for a strong follow-up, sadly this one just did not serve up the same magic as its predecessor. The humor, charming as all get out in Coast Guard Courtship, just fell flat here, felt a little on the canned side. Further, the plot wasn't nearly as much fun. While it seemed promising, opening a story with a food fight, things quickly fizzled out from there. Even with a hurricane in the mix --- you'd expect some great tension or amazing chats or something right? --- nope, even there it was about as interesting as bath water. 

 

Pretty quickly, Honey's relentless bickering grows tiresome. Not cute. She complains that Sawyer never explained his absence, then when he tries she shuts it down with an "I don't want to hear it"... but then encourages him to try again, but then hardly lets him finish a thought before she's verbally laying into him again. Her level of anger grows unreasonable but she continues to harp on with the "Why won't you talk to me?" Girl, have you only heard your side of things? This whole story has been set up for him to tell his side! UGH, even Max chimes in with a "Stop being a big baby, Aunt Honey." You tell her, kid! Another character takes it further with "Bitterness does not become you, Beatrice."

 

In terms of dialogue, the writing just gets progressively more cringey as the reader progresses. But if you're really into nighttime soaps, the overkill dramatics might not strike you as problematic. I will note a few highlights though. 1) This novel does touch upon the heartbreak of siblings split up within the foster system and later left unable to reunite with each other as adults because of sealed records. 2) The closing scene was undeniably sweet and romantic. Hard not to pull a grin out of me at the description of a modern couple slow dancing to "Let Me Call You Sweetheart". 3) MAX. It was so great to see Max again in this series. Max is doing great and he totally made it worthwhile to hang in there and keep reading! 

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review 2019-01-22 20:40
Coast Guard Courtship (Coast Guard #1) by Lisa Carter
Coast Guard Courtship (Love Inspired Large Print) - Lisa Carter

Coast Guard Officer Braeden Scott's life is all about freedom and adventure. Being assigned to a tiny Virginia coastal village is the last thing he wants. But thanks to a feisty redhead, he's soon discovering the charms of a small-town life. Amelia Duer is all about home and hearth. Taking care of others is her whole world. As Braeden spends more time with her and her nephew, his hopes for a family begin to resurface. Could Amelia prove to be the anchor this charming Coastie needs to stop wandering and create a home for good?

Amazon.com

 

 

NC based writer Lisa Carter places her Coast Guard centered romance in the small town of Kiptohanock, Virginia, where CG officer Braeden Scott gets stationed and quickly finds himself tangled up with feisty redhead Amelia Duer. Being a redhead myself, I had to chuckle at one point in the story where a comment is made about redheaded women in general being "insidious" LOL 

 

He filled his lungs with the bracing sea air. Not so bad. Not the most exciting place he'd ever been quartered, but as long as he could hear the crash of the waves, he'd do fine...Braeden's first love, the sea, remained the only love in his life that hadn't let him down. Give Braeden his boat, the rhythm of the sea and, as one poet had phrased it, "a star to steer by," and he was good. Better than good. Women were trouble he didn't need in his life.

 

Amelia runs her father's charter fishing business since her father decided to take up part time work in a boat repair shop. Running the shop serves as a perfect excuse for Amelia to keep a close eye on her dad as he recovers from a recent heart attack. She grew up in the kind of family where her father never got the son he wanted, so he raised her as he would a boy, turning her into his "fishing buddy", as he liked to think of her. Developing that bond early on has served them well now as they move into the adult phase of parent-child friendship.

 

Braeden's first impression of her is that she's not terribly feminine but certainly admirably gutsy and "tough as a sea barnacle"... the type of compliment that wants to make you say, "Thanks.. I think...". When Braeden rents out a boat shed property without first informing Amelia, she ends up nearly taking him out with a harpoon! (A simple misunderstanding... you'll see.... )

 

Braeden loves a life full of adventure and wild experiences while Amelia is all about having stability and a home & community where she can firmly root. She has reasons for insisting on a firm home base: she lost her mother to cancer and her sister to a drunk driver, leading to Amelia becoming the guardian of her five year old nephew, Max, who is battling leukemia. Max's father is also in the Coast Guard... or at least was... his role in this story is sort of that of "deadbeat dad who abandoned the family".

 

Trying to do her best, Amelia is struggling with Max while he works this phase where he answers all her instructions with "you're not my real mom". There's added pressure on her since she took out loans against her father's business to cover the cost of Max's chemo treatments. Now finding herself unbelievably stressed out and deeply in debt, there's an added layer of tension since her remaining family members grow to see her as someone generally too salty to associate with. 

 

While the arrival of Braeden is an unexpected upset to the routine at first, he proves to be a nice distraction from all the heavier dealings in Amelia's days. There IS something about him that she can't help but be drawn to, but thanks to the whole situation with Max's father, Amelia also happens to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder when it comes to Coast Guard fellas. Then there's the difference in faith between them -- While Amelia finds great comfort in fellowship, Braeden isn't much of a church-goer (but he has his reasons for being so).

 

Braeden unknowingly finds the ways to her heart ... largely by just being himself. He shows willingness to spend so much quality time with Max (such as teaching him how to swim), helping Amelia's sister, Beatrice aka "Honey" navigate out of her own Coast Guard romance gone sour, AND encourages Amelia to pursue art as a career, at the very least as a side gig. While she does love creating paintings of local seascapes and townspeople, Amelia has strong fears of taking her work public... but perhaps with Braeden's support to bolster her, anything is possible! It's also tough not to fall for a guy who insists on teaching the generation coming up about respecting women:

 

"Yeah, Mimi. Leave us guys alone." Max propped his hand on his small hip and jutted it, Honey-style. "We don't need you. Braeden's got this. Go away."

 

She blinked. Braeden frowned. He locked eyes with Max. "Let's you and me get one thing straight, Candidate Duer. Women are to be respected, cherished, and protected." Braeden threw Amelia a glance before his gaze returned to Max. "If I ever hear you disrespect your aunt Mimi or any other woman ever again, you can forget swim lessons or anything else from this Coastie."

 

The starch went out of her carrot-topped nephew. He drew a circle in the water with his toe. "Sorry, Mimi."

 

This is one well-balanced romance! It's part of Harlequin's "Love Inspired" line, so there are Christian themes mildly discussed within the plot, while also incorporating plenty of humor and warm & cuddly courtship scenes. Sometimes titles within this line tend to run a bit heavy on the sap but this one got it just right. To balance out the sweet, there are more serious topics woven in. Max's story as he battles leukemia has its bittersweet notes, but not to Afterschool Special levels. Still, that scene with Max getting attached to a Black Lab only to be told maybe a dog isn't a great idea, and him snapping back with "I'm gonna die anyway"... Kid put a chip in this heart of mine! Then there's the tough moments that circle Coast Guard life itself  --- the blessings of ships ceremony where a bell is rung for each crew member lost to sea, and the intensity that builds around responding to mayday calls. It's all in here! 

 

By story's close, the reader is left waiting to hear the results of Max's latest tests... but since he makes an appearance in Book 2, it looks like the prognosis is good! 

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text 2019-01-21 21:24
Reading progress update: I've read 226 out of 352 pages.
The Lost Coast - Amy Rose Capetta
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url 2019-01-03 11:21
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-01-03 10:45
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