I have previously read, enjoyed and reviewed this author's first two books The Red Bikini (1/5/15) and Ten Good Reasons (5/17/15) both of which had seaside settings in California.
The setting of the Lavender Island novels reminded me very much of Catalina Island off the coast of California about 30 miles from Long Beach. It was probably the model for this novel. I was only on Catalina Island for a few hours in January 2014 as one port of call on a Carnival cruise. There were only a few streets in a crescent shaped waterside downtown but it was scenic, quaint, artsy, and great for browsing. We learned locals got around via golf carts since car permits were few and far between. The interior is mountainous. I imagined Lavender Island from the stories to be much like Catalina Island pictured in the following photo. The fact that the characters in the novel also zipped around in golf carts was a charmingly coincidental image. I would like to go back to Catalina Island some day and these novels pseudo took me there.
The Kiss on Castle Road was set near the coastline of Lavender Island and the male love interest was a nerdy marine micro-biologist investigating illness in sea lions. Perhaps because of the nerdy scientist aspect, I preferred the first book to the second. In Love on Lavender Island the male love interest was a cowboy type and the novel is set in the center of the island where there is a ranch and a bison conservancy. After reading this and researching a bit I learned that there is also a bison conservancy on Catalina Island. I knew nothing about the interior of the island during our brief time there 2½ years ago so I am curious to return and explore more.
Unlike many man-bashing romance novels where the male lead is an a** hole who is tamed by the female lead, the guys in both these books managed to be gentlemanly without sacrificing the ability to exude an air of considerate but firm male dominance. They came across as strong without being too gruff and very respective of the woman they were attracted to. The requisite sex scenes were spicy and explicit but not gross; they were descriptive enough to be intriguing, but not written in the genre of X-rated blatant disclosure.
Both these books were a fun read; predictable, yes, in where the two main characters would end up, but teasing enough to keep the reader wondering how the couple would get there. The novels were not very meaty, but then doesn't everyone love a few frosted cupcakes now and then? I will watch for other books by this author. She has the right recipe for me to snack on.