Book 1, The Paradise Series
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There's trouble waiting in Paradise.
Quiet country-girl Lexie Atkinson is about to get an education she'll never forget. Sent from her family's remote rural property to live in the glittering beachside Paradise City for her final school year, she is plunged into a place where looks can kill and vicious rumours can make or break you. Lexie just wants to fly under the radar...until she meets Luke Ballantine.
Impulsive and charming, one thing is clear: Luke is sexier than any guy she has ever known.
Suddenly good girl Lexie is breaking all the rules - getting detention, sneaking out to late-night parties, hanging out with boys - and then rumours start swirling...about her! Everything changes fast and Lexie will soon find out if Luke Ballantine is going to be good for her...or very, very bad?
A funny, sexy and romantic novel from the bestselling author of the Summer series.
'Paradise City is the same brand of feel good, fun and sexy romance that I have come to love from this author' - Book Briefs
'I love Duggan's writing and Paradise City was a hoot. I cannot wait for the next book! Is it August yet?' - Reading With ABC
'I loved this book - it's the perfect beach read.' - Flying Through Pages
'I loved every moment . . . C. J. is a born storyteller that breathes a realism into her characters and situations that we've all found ourselves in.' - Diva Book Nerd
'Duggan's writing is addictive, and I really didn't want to put this book down.' - Escape Into Words
'Paradise City is going to be on my mind until I can get my greedy eyes on Paradise Road. I need that book yesterday!' - Book Cat Pin
'A fast paced fun read with so many steamy situations.' - Dreamy Addictions
'Guaranteed her readers will come back for more.' - My Guilty Obsession
'Drama, deception, love and a little mystery . . . the ending left me hungry for the next book! I can't wait for Paradise Road!' - Paranormal Tendencies on Goodreads
'A bit of Home and Away meets Puberty Blues feel about the novel makes is a great read for older teens and YA. I will be desperately waiting for part 2 in September.' Samantha on Goodreads
'Again Ms Duggan had created a winner. Paradise City was a perfect introduction to the series and characters. I was left needing more and it had so much laugh-out-loud fun. This really did have everything from intrigue to addiction, realism of high school antics, steamy sizzles and fast paced readability. I am certainly hooked and desperately want more of all these characters. I highly recommend this to all new adult readers, fan-bloody-tastic!' - Turner's Antics
'This is my first taste of Duggan's work and it won't be the last ... It's a story that will have you coming back for more.' - Sassy Book Lovers
'convincing and authentic ... Perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Anna Todd, Paradise City is a fun and exciting read about love, family and surviving high school.' - Fictional Thoughts
Love this one!
One of the best things I ever did was email a new, Australian author to ask to review a book that she was publishing. I did that back when I was starting off blogging. I didn’t know that I would strike up an amazing friendship with said author, or that I would discover this semi-hidden jewel. See, C.J. Duggan hadn’t been really discovered at that point, she was self-publishing, and writing kind of as a hobby. But whoa baby, you have come a long way since then!
Paradise City is published by Hatchette Australia! Such an amazing accomplishment for a self published author. I know a lot of Pepsi Max and chocolate went into this book. Way to go C.J.!
Okay, onto the book! I am tearing myself away from the Onslow Boys to bring you this update. But I can promise you it is ALL GOOD. Oh yeah. Except for the ending. That is a bit of a cliff hanger, but I digress…
See, Lexie decides to go to school in Paradise. She has been homeschooled all her life, so this is a big deal. The biggest. And she finds herself the center of attention, and especially catching the eye of one Luke Ballentine. The guy in school.
All I gotta say is I’m glad I got this one when there was snow on the ground cause this book was super hot. And, this book also made me forget that I’m thirty something. It totally took me back to the days of high school and crushes and sneaking out and first kisses and all that crazy angsty high school stuff that I never want to live again, but at the same time just seems so great when you read it, ya’ know? I lost a lot of sleep reading this book, but it was so worth it. And I am now DYING to read the second book (and, yes, I am well aware that I sound exactly like my overly dramatic ten year old to who I would tell that I am not ACTUALLY dying and I WILL live until the book comes out, but still!) I sit here oh so not patiently, waiting in agony to know what is going to happen, cause it it not nice to leave a reader hanging like that.
But seriously, this one is not to be missed. Trust me.
Well written but not a romance
So, this book is marketed as a New Adult Romance, but there is no HEA. I am going to assume this means that this is a romantic series that will eventually get there. But for those of you that want a traditional romance, this one isn't for you.
If you are looking for a small town (I'm talking like 15 people live there small) girl that finds herself swept up in a total culture shock as she enters high school in a very big city, Paradise. Lexie is feeling quite overwhelmed as she is thrown face first into the whirlpool that is high school social structure. Adrift on her own, she begins to develop a new indentity and branch out a little. I really loved watching her transform from a niave and awkward girl to a person that was happy (most of the time) with who she was.
The romantic interest was a little too dramatic for me. They are on agan and off again, and then sort of inbetween for awhile - and as you can see from the beginning of my review here - we don't end with as HEA or a HFN. I certainly hope things get worked out in the next book. While I enjoyed the writing very much, since it was presented as a romance I was really hoping for a good, happy ending.
*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
SERIAL (cliffhangers)! YA drama w/ Mean Girls / Twilight vibe.
PARADISE CITY (Paradise, # 1)
April 28, 2015
Publisher: Hachette Austalia
approximate pages: 336 (print)
Romance: Contemporary, New Age/College
** Provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review. **
-- MY THOUGHTS --
Judging a Book by it's Cover:
Bright and bold color choices immediately catch the eye. The synopsis sounds like a typical coming-of-age, teen drama. Nothing too extra-ordinary or unique from the tons of others out there already: Naive, small-town girl moves and meets local bad boy. It's all very cliche' when you think about it. Hope it reads better!
Written from Lexie's first-person POV. How to explain this book.... Lexie's fascination / obsession with school hottie / bad boy is akin to the Bella / Edward saga that I'm sure everyone is familiar with, except Ballantine does not sparkle (thank god for small favors). Then there's Amanda, the estranged cousin that she idolized. My first thought on Amanda: "Mean Girls". It's not a loving reunion. Add in a few more characters and plenty of pop culture references and you have a rather full cast and substance.
The plot plods along steadily but sedately, chronicling the mundane life at school, mostly. Nearly a third of the way into the book, Ballantine had made one comment and asked two questions to Lexie. His friend, Boon, has interacted with her more! I think he's fast becoming a favorite character. The dialogue and interaction is mostly realistic and natural feeling, although it really does perplex me how someone can be THAT naive and trusting of everyone. I found myself struggling with the pace and the mostly one-dimensional content. The main characters are okay, but they are awful young (Ballantine's 18 and Lexie's 17) and still have a LOT of growing up to do. I was a bit thrown that the boys are always referred to by their last names. There's a lot of Australian terminology in this book, so be sure to have your translator ready if you are not familiar with words like ute, esky, doona, and bitumen.
There were many conflicts ranging in degree. Most were resolved, some were not. There were a few plot twists that were not predicted and I can only speculate on some of the other elements that are yet to reveal themselves. The conclusion is left open to continue in the next book, due out in September of 2015. I wish I had prior knowledge of a cliffhanger. I prefer not to invest my time in partial stories, but rather I wait until all parts are available to read as a whole. This story *IS* a High School drama-laden SERIAL saga with a cliffhanger. You've been warned.
Heat Level: 3.5
-- ABOUT the AUTHOR --
C.J Duggan is an Internationally Number One Best Selling Author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. When she isn't writing books about swoony boys and 90's pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos. The Boys of Summer is Book One in her highly successful New Adult Romance Series.
-- REVIEWER INFO --
Tina J / Happily Ever Chapter
Other Books in This Series
- Category: New Adult
- Published: Apr 26, 2015
- Publisher: Hachette Australia
- Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
- Print Length: 336 Pages
- Language: English
- Series: Book 1, The Paradise Series