Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: No Tan Lines by Kate Angell

Okay, so I missed this month's TBR challenge again ^_^; I did see Wendy's post, but for some reasons, even after, I thought I still had more time. Obviously not, oups. I might have been able to pull it off if this review hadn't taken me so much time to write. What can I say, it's been a while since I've written reviews and I'm sadly rusty ^_^; Hopefully, my mojo comes back soon.

So it took me a while to write this review, but I was determined to write it because I really enjoyed this book :) In the end, I think I got it right :P I hope you enjoy and pick up the book after reading this post!

No Tan Lines by Kate Angell
published by Kensington in May 2012
There's a place where the ocean meets the shore, where kicking off your shoes and baring some skin is as natural as sneaking under the boardwalk for an ice cream cone and stolen kisses. But life isn't all a beach for Shaye Cates, even if her idea of an office is a shady umbrella at the water's edge equipped with cell phone and laptop. Steely-eyed Trace Saunders is the incredibly irksome fly in her coconut tanning oil. And running a kids' softball team with her long-time rival is going to have everyone in her little Florida town buzzing. Her scads of laid-back relatives and his whole uptight clan know that Shaye just wants to play ball while Trace thinks only of business. But beneath the twinkling lights of the ferris wheel, the magic of sea and sand can sweep away every inhibition...Suddenly, it's summertime, and the lovin' is easy.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Barefoot William series, Book #1

The Story: Shaye Cates and Trace Saunders have always been at odds, rubbing each other the wrong way and never seeing things eye to eye. Part of it is due to the century-old feud between their families; the other part is simply because the two are so different, just like their family business. The Cateses own the northern cement boardwalk, Barefoot William, which is all about fun with its amusement arcades, carnival rides and specialty shops. As for Saunders Shores, it is located south of Center Street and honors refinement with its couture stores, gourmet dining and a five-star hotel. Shaye spends half her time barefoot and in a swimsuit and  her office is the beach, a shady umbrella, her cell phone and laptop while Trace's idea of casual is slacks, white button-downs and loafers and his office has walls. The only thing the two have in common is they are both the CEO/president of their family business... and that's what brings them together in No Tan Lines.

In order to organize a professional/amateur beach volleyball tournament that would bring business that Barefoot William boardwalk desperately needs on the 4th of July week-end, Shaye needs Trace to share 200 feet of his beach and therefore needs his signature on the recreational permit. When Trace finds out that Shaye has given the green light to the event without his consent, Shaye finds herself in Trace's debt... and he has no qualms demanding that she pays up. First is that she breaks the rule of not renting storefront on Barefoot William to non-family and makes an exception to his latest ex-girlfriend. But more importantly is that he is being kept in the loop when it comes to the volleyball tournament and that means Shaye will have to work out of the Saunders corporate offices.

As Shaye and Trace work and spend time together, they discover what years of bickering and veiled tolerance have hidden: attraction and chemistry... but with a century-old feud, can any relationship they have have a future?

My Opinion: To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive when I picked up No Tan Lines because Ms Angell's last release, Sweet Spot, did not wow me and the reviews I've read were mostly in the C range. However, after that first chapter, Ms Angell had me hooked :P

First, I loved the setting :) It was simply perfect for the beach read that No Tan Lines turned out to be!  I think everyone has gone to a boardwalk like Barefoot William and has fond memories of it. Well Ms Angell does a great job with the descriptions, but the ingenuity is that they not only engage our imagination, but also draw on our memories, making Barefoot William and Saunders Shore come to life so vividly :) What's also great about the setting is that it sets up the mood and the atmosphere for the story very well. The beach and the sun made me disconnected and relax and the contrast between the two boardwalks was really key to the story and making us understand the source of the feud and how different Shaye and Trace were. Also, the beach volleyball tournament was a great idea! It fit because it is played at the beach obviously, but also because it's fun to play and watch and you can help but think of sun and coconut sun lotion LOL.

However, what made the book for me was the H/H, Shaye and Trace, and their relationship. From the start, I liked Shaye and Trace. Shaye appears very relaxed and laid-back, working from the beach and spending most of her time barefoot... and it's not a front, it's who she is. At the same time, she's very level-headed and is in charge of Barefoot William Enterprise, looking out for all of her family shops, giving a hand whenever needed and solving problems. That means she's strong, determined and smart. However, she's not all hard and I loved seeing her softer sides, how kind, generous and giving she was. As for Trace, well he's a typical CEO :P Rich, handsome and ruthless... but he too had a big heart. I liked how he wanted to help Shaye making the beach volleyball tournament a success to make sure her side of the beach stayed in the black. I also liked how protective he was of his sister, Sophie. Also, what surprised me was how adaptable he was and not stubborn. In fact, from the beginning, he is the the one making the compromise - spending time in Barefoot William - and being patient with Shaye... and that really impressed me :)

I also very much enjoyed Shaye and Trace's relationship. I liked seeing how intense they were with each other and they both gave as good as they got LOL. That was fun - very balanced. It also showed they had good chemistry together. One reason why this romance worked for me is that while Shaye and Trace were at each other's throat, they also knew each other very well. And what I liked is what they knew was their true self. Often in romance, the H/H think they know each other, but once they start spending time together, they realize they had it wrong or there were circumstances, etc. This is not the case with Shaye and Trace, what they know held true :) All they did was deepening their bond and their knowledge of each other and I thought that was refreshing. I also liked that Ms Angell built their relationship slowly and intensified their attraction to each other. It was nice that they did not jump into bed right away and when they finally had sex, they knew what was ahead of them and that there was no risk of misunderstanding or lie or secret that comes back to bite you in the butt. All in all, I very much enjoyed the romance as well as Shaye and Trace :P

I have to admit that initially, I had two niggles after reading No Tan Lines. The first was I thought the ending with Shaye and Trace was a bit rushed and in turn, how could a century-old feud exist and nobody think "Why the heck are we still feuding?" However, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I liked that Shaye and Trace tied the knot without waiting for their families to accept their relationship. Sure, their blessings would have been nice, but their relationship was strong enough that they didn't need it. I think it really said something about how in love and how committed Shaye and Trace were. As for the feud, it also made sense that it was still very present because it really embodies the difference in vision and lifestyle that the Cateses and Saunderses have. It's not an incident that took place more than a hundred years ago that resulted in a fall-out and nobody knows who's at fault. Instead, it's still very present when you take a look at Barefoot William and Saunders Shores and nobody's wrong or right here. So those would have been my complaints, but not anymore :)

Reading the reviews, I know a lot of people had issues with the romance - the fact there was basically three romantic storylines going on and as a result, it took away from Shaye and Trace's spotlight. Coming into No Tan Lines, I was concerned about this as well, but at the same time, I was prepared because this is Ms Angell's style ^_^; She always have many romances going on at the same time and in many instances, I hadwished she would focus more on the H/H's romance. However, in No Tan Lines, I have to say it wasn't too bad mainly because when Ms Angell started Dune and Sophie's romance, which I believe is the set up for the next book in the series, Shaye and Trace were established as a couple. Obviously, I would have loved to read more scenes of them as a couple, but I was okay without. There wasn't that much of head/couple-hopping and it worked for me. As for the secondary romance, Kai and Nicole, I enjoyed them and I was satisfied with what I got.

Finally, other things I loved about this book but did not go into details: Shaye's loyalty to her family, her connection to Kai and Shaye's parrot Olive - that parrot was a blast!! LOL. Oh and I also very much enjoyed Dune and Sophie and I can't wait to read their story :P

My Grade: B+. I really, really enjoyed No Tan Lines and can't wait to read the next book :) There's no denying that No Tan Lines had some flaws and lacked some depth, but it was easy to overlook them because the characters and the setting of the book really hit the right spot for me. If you're in the mood for a fun and light beach read,  make sure to pick up No Tan Lines :)