Lorelie Brown's Riding the Wave Review + Author Interview

Hello everyone,
Before you go off to your weekend adventures, I want to let you all know about Lorelei Brown's Riding the Wave. Just looking at the cover get you in the mood for a hot day at the beach. It has waves, sun, hot pro-surfers, secrets and a steamy romance for your beach or pool-side enjoyment.

Format: Mass Market
Pages: 336 pages
Series: Pacific Blue #1
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Source of my copy: author
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
The gray-green swells of San Sebastian haven’t changed in ten years, but Tanner Wright has. The last thing he expects to find back on his home turf is the love of his life....
With a make-or-break world championship on the line, professional surfer Tanner Wright has come back to the coastal California hometown he left a decade ago, carrying only his board and the painful knowledge of his father’s infidelity. Now that Hank Wright is dead, Tanner intends to keep the secret buried to spare his mother and sister the burden.
The last time Avalon Knox saw her best friend’s brother, she was fourteen and he was a twenty-year-old surfer god. She’s never understood or respected the way Tanner distanced himself from the family that has embraced her. But now she has the professional chance of a lifetime: to photograph Tanner for the competition—if he’ll agree.
Out on the waves, they find in each other passion that’s impossible to resist. And Tanner’s not the only one trying to move forward from his past. As the competition heats up, secrets get spilled, and lust takes over. How close can Avalon get to this brooding surfer…without getting burned?

Warning: Mild spoilers.

After reading the first chapter of Riding the Wave, I knew I was going to like it because the writing was really good. So, I settled into my couch (although I would've preferred to read it at the beach to set the perfect reading mood) and kept going.

Riding the Wave is the first full-length novel (there's a novella-length story before this one) in Lorelie Brown's new series called Pacific Blue. It's set in Southern California in which each book will be about a professional surfer's road to happily ever after. Riding the Wave is about pro-surfer Tanner Wright. He came back to his hometown after ten years of avoiding coming home to compete in the World Championship. He had been avoiding coming back because it was easier to keep his (recently deceased) father's secret from his mom Eileen and sister Sage. His dad, a revered surfing legend in their town, cheated on his mother and had a whole other family unbeknownst to anyone.

Avalon Knox was Tanner's sister Sage's best friend. She did not have a happy home life with with her single mom so the Wright family unofficially adopted her and took her in. She would do anything for the Wrights, and she didn't understand why Tanner left his family without any explanations. Avalon was a photographer and she was hired to follow Tanner for four weeks to document his homecoming and the competition. This was huge for her professionally, but Tanner was less than pleased having her following him around. Being in close proximity though they get to know each other again and grow closer. Unfortunately, Tanner's secret may keep them from their happily ever after.

I'm a sucker for the best friend's brother romantic trope so that was what drew to Riding the Wave initially. I had a couple of issues with it but I ended up enjoying this novel overall. It's my first by Lorelie Brown and I'm so glad I found her because I really like her tone. I plan on picking up the next books in this series.

It took me a while to really connect with Avalon and even more so with Tanner, but I did end up liking their characters. Avalon was spunky, out-spoken and a talented photographer if only she'd find the "spark" to take her pictures beyond just commercial. We do see her character grow but the big focus of the novel was Tanner and him keeping the big, dirty secret he was carrying about his father. Understandably, Tanner was angsty and had a huge chip on his shoulders. Then, he had to deal with his half-brother Mako showing up in town threatening to reveal everything. And, oh that Mako--his name means shark and he definitely had shark-like tendencies. He was the villain but I felt sorry for him. He got the crappier end of an already crappy deal. He's a character you're going to love to hate... but I think he could be redeemable.

I did feel that the romance did take a bit of a back seat to the drama. The chemistry between Avalon and Tanner was there and there were a lot of steamy sexy times, but my biggest issue with this book was that I didn't feel that Avalon and Tanner were quite there at the I love you/happily ever after by the end of this novel. After all the drama about Tanner's dad and Mako wanting his revenge, I thought their romantic relationship needed a bit more developing [outside the bedroom] before they reach that ultimate HEA point in their relationship.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Riding the Wave. It is more drama and angst-heavy than other contemporary romances I've read recently but the surfing and the lovely beach town setting added a refreshing facet to the story. You don't have to like surfing to enjoy this book. Bring it with you to the beach or the pool!

Hi Lorelie! Happy summer and welcome to our blog! What was your reaction the first time you saw the gorgeous cover for Riding the Wave? Who designed it and did you have any input?

Author Lorelie Brown
Thanks for having me! And isn’t that cover just so amazing? I’m afraid I don’t know who designed it. Some lovely cover artist at Penguin Random House who doesn’t actually know me, but loves me very, very much anyway. Because it’s soooo beautiful.

Some writers talk about talking to their characters in their head like they are real people. Do you talk to your characters? Also, who was harder to write: Tanner or Avalon?

I don’t talk to my characters, no. Sometimes I imagine them doing things after the book though. The regular things like going grocery shopping together and the fact that Tanner would really hate the flaxseed bread that Avalon picked out. He’d sneak donuts into the cart when it seemed like she wasn’t looking, but she’d know all along and when they get to check out, he’d realize she replaced his powdered sugar covered ones with the good chocolate kind. :D

So I guess I’ve got a different kind of character crazy going on. Heh.

I think Tanner was harder to write, though. Avalon was a ball of raw emotion, but it was Tanner who was hiding the deep, dark secret of the book. I had to understand why he was hiding this secret. Why not just spew it all over the place? I ended up learning a lot about his sense of responsibility. He wants to hold the whole world’s weight on his shoulders. Avalon helps him learn to let that go.

What was the most challenging part of writing Riding the Wave? What was the easiest?

The most challenging part of the book was getting the details of the ASP World Championship Tour right. I’ve been casually following surfing for years. SURFING and surfer were my favorite magazines to pick up when I had a flight, and I could tell you who won the ‘CT on any given year. But I had to really understand the point system, and that was surprisingly difficult.

The easiest was channeling the sun-drenched feeling of Southern California. I grew up there, so that part was completely easy. I got a reason to wax poetical about my hometown! (Ish. I grew up all over SoCal, so I kinda mashed the best parts of my memories into the make-believe town of San Sebastian.)

Out of all your heroes from all of your books, who would you pick to kiss, who would you pick to marry, and who would you pick to kill?

Um, my pick to kiss is probably not fair: I choose Sean Westin, from Ahead in the Heat. It won’t be out until January 2015, and I know, that’s totally not cool. But it’s the sequel to Riding the Wave. (I’m saving Jack and Sage for next summer’s release!) And Sean is so sexy-cool, while being emotionally open in a way that I just love. He’s got a mess of problems. He takes them out on the heroine with sultry kisses and quippy self-defensive humor. Exactly how I like it. (Since I wrote him and all.) Plus he’s one of my sexy surfers, though with the dark hair/light eyes combo that I adore personally in men. (Sean’s eyes are blue, for the record.)

For marrying, I choose Evan Sommers of my co-written Katie Porter book, Own. He’s an ex-Marine who now works for a covert unit. If there’s anyone in the world who’s gonna keep his woman safe and taken care of, it’s Evan. He just might happen to be a little bossy (*cough* make that dominant *cough*).

But don’t make me kill any of my heroes! That’s just so sad. I don’t wanna. I suppose if I have to choose, maybe I’d say Fletcher from Wayward One. It’s one of my historical romances, and Fletcher is an underworld criminal. He inherited the dirty business from his father, and he’s trying to turn it around, but...well, I suppose since he’s a criminal and all...

Out of all your heroines from all of your books, who would you pick to be (take over their life), who would you pick to be roommates/best friends with, and who would you pick to push off a cliff?

I would be Avalon from Riding the Wave, totally. She lives at the beach and travels to different beaches for work. I’m currently typing this in Wisconsin. She wins.

Best friends I’d say Lottie from An Indiscreet Debutante. She’s wild and fun, the kind of girl who’d drop in and insist we drink wine and gossip even if it’s a Tuesday night.

To push off a cliff...Victoria from An Unsuitable Duchess. Who’s that, you say? Well, she was supposed to be the third book to An Indiscreet Debutante and Wayward One...but she was boring. So very boring. I wrote around 60k of her book and quit. Because of that whole boring problem. Shoving her off a cliff would have made her entirely more exciting. Probably wouldn’t have made for a good romance novel though.

A huge thank you to Lorelie for answering all of my questions. Fellow readers, stop by Lorelie's website for more info about Riding the Wave, her other novels as well as her Katie Porter books. You can also chat with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Have a great weekend and happy reading,

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