Published by Hachette Australia on 22nd November 2015
Format: E-ARC, E-Book
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
The Road to Paradise is never easy
After a year on the coast, Lexie Atkinson can't settle back into country life. She’s missing the glitzy, gritty nightlife of the big city and the group of misfit friends she’d loved to hate. She knows to move forward she has to go back – back to face the guy who stole her heart.
But when Lexie arrives in Paradise City to work out if her future includes bad-boy surfer, Luke Ballantine, he is nowhere to be found.
With no home, no money and no Luke, Lexie gets a job slinging drinks at the wild Wipe Out Bar. Soon her heartache is eased when broody bar owner, Dean Saville, starts taking an interest and stirs more than just her drinks. But nothing is ever as it seems in Paradise City and when Luke barrels back into town, Lexie has a choice to make. But who will end up with the broken heart: Luke, Dean … or Lexie?
Reading funks suck, but they exist. And when I fall into one (which is approximately 3 out of 4 weeks in a month), there’s certain authors I love to turn to. They’re my comfort food – the pizza and the chocolate of the literary world.
I’ve never been very good with contemporaries – I’m more of a speculative fiction type of girl – but there’s something about the way that CJ writes that pulls me into the worlds she creates. There’s that familiarity of the Aussie lifestyle that she can capture, whether it’s the 90s or today. If the Paradise duology were a song, it’d be Thirsty Merc’s In The Summer Time.
Paradise Road takes us back to where it all began and ended, picking up on a high note that lasts the whole book. While a quicker read than the first, Paradise Road is a ride that I never wanted to end – specifically because, well, I always preferred Dean Saville, and it was his time to shine.
Lexie had more of a chance to grow in Road – gone (for the most part) was the girl of City who was whiney and intolerable. At the start of Road, Lexie is dealing with the fallout of what happened in City – with Ballantine gone and not talking to her, and then her parents dropping the bomb that she may not be able to go back to Paradise. Instead of spending too long moping about it – she decides to prove everyone wrong and land a job and a place to stay.
Ironically, it’s The Wipeout Bar that becomes Lexie’s new home and the focal setting for the book. And as we know from City, The Wipeout Bar is owned by no other than everyone’s favourite brooding boy, Dean Saville. I loved the side of Dean we get to see in Paradise Road. He becomes the centre of the story, and is a real testament to the growth of Lexie. He helps her mature into a young lady, while at the same time pushing past his own prejudices. There were a few times things were glossed over – like the reason he and Ballantine have never gotten along, but really, at the end of the day, I was just happy to have Dean. Gorgeous, perfectly flawed and tender hearted (but shh don’t tell him that!)
So basically, if you want something sweet with a touch of sexy, something that you can whip through easily on a day, then read this series. In all honesty, you can’t get better than a CJ Duggan novel, because you know it’s going to have that perfect blend of Australian humour and romance that will leave wanting only more.