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Summary

Just because you're through with your past, doesn't mean it's through with you.

Margaret Beringer didn't have an easy adolescence. She hated her name, was less than popular in school, and was always cast aside as a "farm kid." However, with the arrival of Courtney Carrington, Margaret's youth sparked into color. Courtney was smart, beautiful, and put together - everything Margaret wasn't. Who would have imagined that they'd fit together so perfectly?

But first loves can scar.

Margaret hasn't seen Courtney in years and that's for the best. But when Courtney loses her father and returns to Tanner Peak to take control of the family store, Margaret comes face-to-face with her past and the woman she's tried desperately to forget. The fact that Courtney has grown up more beautiful than ever certainly doesn't help matters.

A small town romance.

©2017 Melissa Brayden (P)2017 Bold Strokes Books Inc

What listeners say about Strawberry Summer

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Shallow and predictable

I found this book shallow and predictable. The characters were poorly conceived and the plot even more so. What made this worse was the annoying valley girl voice the narrator chose for Maggie, overall it lacked any real emotional quality or substance for my taste. Save yourself 10 hours and go read Pages For You by Sylvia Brownrigg if lesbian teenage angst is your thing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LuceC
  • 25-05-17

Loved the book, narrator choices not so much

First off, loved the book (5 Stars). Brayden is one of the best and her books are among my favorites.
What I didn't like about the audiobook was the Narrator's voice for Maggie. The book is written in first person from Maggie's point of view. I liked her voice for Maggie's thoughts but Maggie's speaking voice is high and juvenile. Which was OK, when she was a teen. I was hoping when Maggie became an adult, McKinney would switch to a lower adult voice, but she didn't adjust. At times adult Maggie sounded like a whiny teenager. I kept thinking why would sultry voiced Courtney find this attractive? Otherwise, McKinney's other character's voices were well done. Performance: 2 stars for Maggie's speaking voice added a star for the rest of the book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-09-17

Melissa Brayden is worthy of a better narrator

Good story .I read and loves all of her books. I do have other favourites but I would never pass on any of them. Shame the narration is bad. Sing a song kind of reading. All characters sound flat. Missing are the emotions that the words try to deliver.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rochelle Voelkel
  • 03-11-17

Heart Warming

I loved the story line and the characters. The only thing I didn't like was when Maggie became an adult she still had her young teenage voice. The Narrator should have changed the voice a bit. Other then that I loved the story!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kristy
  • 09-07-17

Authors best work ever

I laughed I cried and even got angry at times. Melissa wrote a wonderful story about life's ups and downs. This book was just awesome

2 people found this helpful

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  • dreacraftie28
  • 07-07-17

Another case of a decent story plagued by crappy narrating

The narrators monotone voice and awkward choices for character just kept taking me out the book threw enough curveballs to keep my attention but the performance was like a rock in my shoe

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  • Sab
  • 23-06-17

Love can come in different ways...

Loved the story with interesting characters and well written, I didn't like that Courtney sounded like a sexy 40 YO woman while Maggie sounded like a 12 YO child...
as the story is told in first person by Maggie, Ms McKinney should have used the same voice for her character.

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  • Heidi Dyer
  • 21-06-17

Great story

Strawberries. Yum. Young love that grows with age. Characters have great dialogue! Love the interaction not only with the main characters but with all the characters. The narrator really brought the story to life!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Micky Yang
  • 13-08-20

Didn't live up to the hype.

Alright so what brought me to this book was all the hype and the references from other reviews and websites such as goodreads. I was expecting something on the level of Melissa Brayden's "Soho loft series" or Jae's "Just for Show" or Lee Winter's "The Brutal Truth," or "On The Record Series", these titles are just some examples of what great writers can convey through their writing and really embed an amazing story into my heart. This, however, was not one of those titles.

Strawberry Summer is a 2nd chance romance based on a town right next to the one I live in: Santa Barbara. So lets get into this.

Since the setting is based upon the Santa Barbara area, I just couldn't get through the fact that the people were "small town" people in this book, simply because Santa Barbara is a coastal town with an extremely high rate of college students coming in and out of it, more specifically due to UCSB and SBCC both being extremely well known colleges. Due to this fact as well as the facts of having great weather and ideal location for seaside homes, any area surrounding SB has become more and more populated over the years and the rent/sale price of homes and apartments have sky rocketed to an astounding amount, making SB a very pricey area to live.

As a resident in SB, I found it incredibly hard to picture any sort "Small Town"anywhere near where SB is. I understand that Melissa Brayden creates fictional locations so that she can be malleable with her creativity but in this case, it's unjustified for where she placed Tanner's Peak. I would understand it more if it was in the central valley or next to Napa Valley or Paso Robles but it wasn't and the feel of how real the town felt just dissipated. And seriously? farm girl? In all the years I've gone to school, not once have I ever heard of anyone being insecure about being a "Farm girl/boy," due to the fact that if they have some sort of property in this area... they're probably pretty damn rich and if they aren't, their land is worth a lot of money.

Ok so setting aside let's move onto the actual story.

The synopsis:

The story is this backwards time traveling 2nd chance at love romance where 2 MCs meet as teenagers, something terrible happens, they hurt each other and then they come together 5 years later to reconcile and have great makeup sex... the end.

My conclusion: (Spoilers!!!!!!!!)

Now I've read a couple of 2nd chance romances and I just have to say that this one just takes the cake as being the most lazy ill thought out way of reconciliation ever! I understand that the words I'm typing seem harsh but hear me out. The great tragedy in this book is that Maggie's brother dies, yep, just killed off, even if he was her bestest most amazing brother ever, Melissa Brayden kills him off. Why? Well duh, it's to create a rift between the 2 MCs so there can be drama and angst and all that good stuff. But you know why this is a terrible idea? I'll tell you why: because everything is told from Maggie's perspective and all we see is her perspective (especially how aggravatingly stupid her mind works).

So after his tragic death, Maggie becomes depressed, like code black depressed. (This is very understandable because remember that her brother was her bestest friend and most amazing brother.) Now Courtney with her wise wisdom says to maggie "It's been a year"... I mean do you really wanna say that to someone who lost a family member? Especially if she is supposed to know the connection between Maggie and her brother? SERIOUSLY COME ON WOMAN!!! Too bad we don't actually know what's going on through Courtney's head when she says that. Dang if it wasn't bad enough, she follows up with an ultimatum: Come with me and chase your dreams or Stay here and cry more. I'm pretty sure you can guess what Maggie picked lol. Anyway, Maggie then gets all gungho about bettering herself and such and then wants to go and win her woman back! woohoo that's great right? NO! Because in the short time that maggie does this (I think it was like a couple of months?), Courtney has eloped with some dude from Chicago, once again, no idea wtf Courtney is thinking. Maggie is now once again depressed and her cousin says something along the lines of "Hey let's get a drink and forget about her." (This is the last scene right before jumping back to present day.)

So jumping 5 years to present day (the last 1/3 or 3ish hours of the audio book), we have Maggie meet Courtney again! Just like that, magic seems to spark and whatever problems they had just vanish! Seriously like pixie dust, it was hilarious to listen to. See, when Maggie confronts Courtney she has all these feelings about it being a bad idea, BUT, because she's still so sexually attracted to her and can't just stop pining for her ex that got married to some guy that she was jealous of back when she was 22, she goes and has sex with her. Yep just like that. To make matters even better, when confronted with the fact that Courtney got married, Courtney counters with: "Why didn't you come get me?" SERIOUSLY????? I MEAN WOMAN YOU GOT FREAKIN MARRIED.... TO A GUY!!! WHAT THE HECK WAS SHE SUPPOSED TO DO!?!?!? Is what I wished Maggie would've said, instead, she says something along the lines of "Hey I know you broke my heart in my time of mourning and then got hitched a couple of months later but now I see things your way and I understand so let's be together." And you know what Courtney's great defense was? It was because she was heart broken and lonely, so of course she's gonna marry the first damn person that lends a shoulder, because people do that all the damn time. Yep simply just amazing story telling. At least they lived happily ever after though right?

Conclusion end.

Narration: What can I say about narration... Paige McKinney is not bad at making different voices, in fact, she is quite good, however, her narration is so blatantly poor and does not draw out ANY emotion from the scenes, and if it does, it's the wrong kind of emotion. At the end of the book, this poor narration probably added to my great disdain of this book. It's like putting a wrong ingredient (on purpose) to an already terrible dish. It was just bad.

Overall: If you have actually reached this part I am so incredibly honored and I hoped you laughed a bit along that read because it was sort of a long review.

I only listened to this book because of all the raving reviews. I full heartedly regret buying this book and the only thing I took from this was lack of sleep because the ending bothered me that much. It made no sense to me why Maggie would want to get back with Courtney and because of the whole 1st person POV from Maggie, I just couldn't sympathize with Courtney because what she did was so incredibly stupid. To top it all off... there was no negative emotions between the 2 at the end and the side characters even cheer them on... even though that they tell 22 year old Maggie to move on from her. It was just one big contradiction and I don't understand why people like this book.

If you want something from Melissa Brayden that's quality, I implore you to read the Soho loft series or "How Sweet it is," Both are great reads that warrant multiple reads after the first.





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  • Emily
  • 17-05-17

wasn't in love with this book

I really didn't like how the reader read the main character. I wasn't feeling any chemistry between the two.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jackalyn Meno
  • 16-05-17

loved it!

This book was very Melissa! I will continue to be a fan of hers. It was a very cute story with bits of humor from Maggie laced through.

1 person found this helpful