May 10, 2013

Review: The Summer He Came Home by Juliana Stone

Series: Bad Boys of Crystal Lake
Format: Print ARC
Release Date: April 2, 2013

Publisher: Sourcebooks 
Source: Publisher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

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.
I have to be honest and say that I've made several review drafts for THE SUMMER HE CAME HOME, Juliana Stone's latest contemporary romance novel from her brand new series, Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, but I always end up revising it because I'm at a loss for words. It's one of those poignant, melt in your mouth, love story that had me feeling loveswept and hopeful at the end complete with a satisfied grin on my face. 

THE SUMMER HE CAME HOME reminded me a little of those feel-good Nicolas Sparks novels: a beautiful love story set in a small town, small cast of characters, emotionally charged and oozing with romance with a big slice of sexy that's all JStone. The first thing that had me hooked was Maggie O'Rourke. I was able to identify with her character because like me, Maggie is a single mom. Aside from raising her child alone, Maggie is also new in town, nobody knows who or where she came from, she mostly keeps to herself working as a housekeeper for most of the well-to-do families in Crystal Lake. There were several scenes where she's looked down on because of what she does for a living and that broke my heart a little. I guess Ignorance doesn't discriminate, fictional or not good thing Cain was there to make it all better, schooling some "learned" residents about the wrongness of prejudice.
Believe what you want, but you'll see... he's one of the good guys, and when you finally realize that? Promise me you'll let him go, because unless you're willing to walk away from whatever the hell has damaged you, he'll get hurt. 

-Raine Edwards
Cain Black for his part is your old school, misunderstood bad boy. He's a rocker who's too smooth with the ladies and too gorgeous for his own good. Cain has hang-ups and I guess what I liked about him is he's not one of those tortured heroes we've been reading a lot of lately. He's loving and what endeared him to me is how much he embraced Maggie from the get go, not really caring about her past and instead he focused more on their present and their future. And Maggie's past is a little harsh starting from an emotionally abusive father and an ex-husband who uses her as a punching bag. Cain didn't see Maggie as damaged goods, instead he saw her as this perfect person whose past made her even more beautiful and totally bonded with her kid without overstepping his bounds. How can you NOT fall in love with a guy like that?!

The story was emotional but light and fluffy as JStone focused more on the romance than on the dark side of her characters. In retrospect, THE SUMMER HE CAME HOME is an old school romance novel, it's Harlequin meets Nicolas Sparks. It's poignant, subtle, sexy with a hint of drama to keep things interesting. Cain Black and Maggie O'Rourke's story is a great introduction to the quaint town of Crystal Lake. And I'm even more excited for book two because The Christmas He Loved Her is Jake Edwards' and Raine's story. Raine is actually the widow of Jake's brother and there's some intense tension going on between these two. Their forbidden love story is mighty interesting and I have a feeling THE SUMMER HE CAME HOME will feel YA next to The Christmas He Loved Her. So if you're into contemporary romance, be sure to add Juliana Stone to your shelf/shelves, I promise she's worth the space or megabits.
This must be what a junkie feels like when they're jonesing for a hit. You're my drug of choice, Maggie.


  1. Is it bad that I'm looking forward to The Christmas he loved her instead of this one?? I like forbidden love xD LOL great review Braine :)

    1. No! I'm looking forward to that too! OMG! It's going to be intense.

  2. Great review, Braine! I am totes a JStone fan ^_^ have you read her Barker Triplets trilogy? AHHH. EEEEK SOOO GOOD! This one sounds interesting. Definitely gonna add it to my TBR list.

    Ana♥ @ BBR


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