By Jenn McKinlay
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
When a woman who’d rather do anything than read meets a swoon-worthy bookworm, sparks fly, making for one hot-summer fling in New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay’s new rom-com.
For Samantha Gale, a summer on Martha’s Vineyard at her family’s tiny cottage was supposed to be about resurrecting her career as a chef, until she’s tasked with chaperoning her half-brother, Tyler. The teenage brainiac is spending his summer at the local library in a robotics competition, and there’s no place Sam, who’s dyslexic, likes less than the library. And because the universe hates her, the library’s interim director turns out to be the hot-reader guy whose book she accidentally destroyed on the ferry ride to the island.
Bennett Reynolds is on a quest to find his father, whose identity he’s never known. He’s taken the temporary job on the island to research the summer his mother spent there when she got pregnant with him. Ben tells himself he isn’t interested in a relationship right now. Yet as soon as Sam knocks his book into the ocean, he can’t stop thinking about her.
An irresistible attraction blossoms when Ben inspires Sam to create the cookbook she’s always dreamed about and she jumps all in on helping him find his father, and soon they realize their summer fling may heat up into a happily ever after. (Goodreads)
Summer Reading is a delightfully entertaining contemporary romance written by Jenn McKinlay. This author is relatively new to me (this being only the third book in this genre written by Ms. McKinlay that I have read) and so far, I am very happy I stumbled onto her writing in this genre.
The main characters are Samantha, a chef without a kitchen and Ben, an interim library director. This seems like an unusual pairing for what one can assume is a to-be romantic pair since Sam struggles to read due to her dyslexia and Ben is very much into reading. What we quickly realize is that Ben is a sensitive guy who just does not give up! And – Sam is a gal who longs to feel validated and loved. I loved the fact that while reading a romance I was schooled in a topic that I knew precious little about – dyslexia.
The story begins with Samantha arriving in Martha’s Vineyard to look after her younger half-brother while their parents take off on a much needed vacation. Little does anyone know that Sam is without a job or direction in her professional life. This is a chance for her to re-boot. Ben has taken a temporary position in Martha’s Vineyard to be able to research the summer his mother spent here and got pregnant, in hopes of figuring out who is father is now that his mother has passed. An unlikely pairing if I do say so myself – but it works.
I enjoyed the maturing dynamic between Sam and her half brother Tyler. To begin – there is friction (but then isn’t there always when dealing with young adolescent boys?), but what is evident is that they never really had a chance to bond and get to know each other as Sam was practically out of the house when Tyler was born… and she was not very accepting of her new step-mother to being with. As their relationship begins to mature, you see a strong family bond building. I thought the way Sam guided Tyler in his quest to impress a certain young women was genius – through food. Given that Sam is a chef though, I expected nothing less. And the driving scenes – priceless. I loved how the sibling bond grew throughout the story.
As Ben hunted for his father, and his relationship with Sam grew, I enjoyed their collaboration’s – both in searching the island for any clues available to figure out who Ben’s father was as well as Sam having Ben (and her brother) as sous chef’s / helpers on her Friday cooking gig’s. I was a bit frustrated when Ben pulled away – but what is a romance without a bit of angst? The journey to find the identity of Ben’s father is engaging… but you will have to read the book yourself to get more details on this particular journey!
This story had intrigue, romance and good ole fashioned family angst. Additionally, a hot lead in Ben, wonderful location and great writing make for an overall enjoyable read. In fact – one that I can recommend, especially if you want to be taken on a journey to Martha’s Vineyard and follow Samantha’s summer adventures.