November 1, 2013

Saltwater Kisses by Krista Lakes

His mouth covered mine, his lips soft and wet with the ocean. The salt water flavored his kisses, giving him a new taste that I could never hope to get enough of. I licked my lips, tasting his salt water kisses. This is what heaven was like. 
-from Saltwater Kisses by Krista Lakes

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I borrowed this book for free from the Kindle Lending Library through Amazon and I will admit that I chose it 100% based on the beautiful cover. With summer long over, this book looked like just the treat to end the season on a sweet note, even if the book was as predictable as the synopsis made it sound. 

Saltwater Kisses is the story of Emma LaRue, a fairly bland Iowa veterinary technician who never gets any special kind of luck in her life; that is, until she wins an all-expenses paid trip to an all-inclusive tropical resort. When her sister gets sick last minute, Emma must embark on this vacation alone. That is, until she meets Jack on the first day of her trip. Emma knows Jack is out of her league, but what she doesn't know is that he's America's most eligible billionaire bachelor and this is his last vacation before he inherits his father's company. When the vacation ends, Emma and Jack must figure out if it was just a whirlwind vacation romance or if they can fit each other into their different lives. 

There was nothing particularly life changing about this book, but it was definitely a sweet, easy read absolutely perfect for a day on the beach. Contemporary romances such as this are a dime a dozen; however, what did make this one slightly more impressive is that I didn't realize it was going to be such a Cinderella story until about halfway through. I assumed that the tropical island setting would be maintained throughout, but this book did take on multiple settings which was refreshing as the story progressed. The change in setting showed different sides to the characters that I wasn't expecting.

For the most part I enjoyed the characters, and while Emma irritated me at times, she was genuine but flawed enough that she didn't annoy me as much as some other female protagonists in this genre (that wasn't meant to sound like a left-handed compliment!). There was nothing spectacular about Emma or Jack's characterization, but they were likable enough that I wanted them both to ultimately get what they wanted. I enjoyed the supporting characters, but I would have liked to see more of Jack's parents and get to know their motivations and personalities more.

The most frustrating part of this book is the dialogue, namely how contractions are rarely used (or at least their usage comes in fleeting waves). For example, at one point while casually talking to Emma, Jack explains, "I am their oldest child, so it was made pretty clear that I would someday take over the company." The first part sounds awkward spoken aloud; maybe it wouldn't have if that was the only instance, but such dialogue is very prevalent and the characters sounded like robots. Similarly, there were some inconsistencies I found that irked me (although mentioning the one I can think of right now would potentially spoil you). I know that I'm kind of crazy when it comes to dialogue and details, but finding so many issues makes me think, "Oh, this is a self-published book, isn't it?" and I HATE thinking that way. I feel like there is a wealth of self-published books out there (and I'm not discounting this one from that group), but simple editing and proofreading makes a huge impact on OCD readers like me.

Bottom Line: A beautiful beach read (especially if you're on a tropical vacation alone!), I recommend this if you want to read something light, airy and emotional. Cute story that won't make you think to hard, which I think we all need a little bit sometime! 3/5 Stars.

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