Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ocean Beach - Wendy Wax

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing my first Wendy Wax book "Ten Beach Road".  About a month later, I was thrilled to not only meet Wendy, but a group of bloggers bid on the privilege to take her (and three other authors) to dinner at SIBA.  At that dinner I learned that the three women I so enjoyed in "Ten Beach Road" were coming back for a repeat performance in her sequel "Ocean Beach".  I became invested in the welfare of Avery, Nicole, Maddie and their friends and family, and I was excited to learn what they were up to these days.

Synopsis:  After the renovations of the Bella Flora went viral on YouTube in a reality-style homemade documentary, Avery, Nicole and Maddie have been offered an opportunity to do it all again in South Beach, Miami.  This time it will be for a reality series show called Do Over, and might just get them back on their feet financially since Bella Flora has yet to sell.  They've been tasked to bring a historic and architecturally-significant mansion, owned by a once-famous widower, back to its former glory.

But as they learned with Bella Flora, these projects all come with pitfalls.  And they've got them this time in spades.  First there is the network cameras that capture everything...every fight, every blunder, every bad hair day.  Then there is the philandering celebrity (who fathered Maddie's daughter's son Dustin) and his foul-mouthed wife who are in town and hovering around looking for trouble.  Even amongst themselves there is tension and undercurrents, especially since it is not only the three women in the mix, but Avery's mother and Maddie's daughter and grandson as well.

So against all odds, these strong women fortify themselves to weather whatever comes their way, be it a broken chandelier, a disgruntled wife or a forty-year old mystery that needs solving.

My thoughts:  For those people who read "Ten Beach Road", it is easy to fall right in step with "Ocean Beach".  Not much time has passed, and these three ladies are still hashing out the issues they struggled with earlier...a broken marriage, a baby born out of wedlock, ruined businesses, mother/daughter angst, relationships.  But in real life, this is the muck that we slog through and rarely is it resolved neatly or quickly.  There were also very similar house renovation aches and pains...sanding, glazing, cleaning, painting.  So in some ways, it is more of the same thing.

But the author also introduces some new aspects to the story which spices things up, particularly one of a forty-plus year old mystery of a missing child.  It wasn't a hard puzzle to figure out, but was a lot of fun to watch unfold.  

Having visited South Beach, it was also a treat to revisit the art deco architecture and decadent feel of the area.  It is definitely like no other place on earth, and seeing it through the eyes of these three ladies was proof of Wendy's research of the area.

This is definitely a worthy summer with love, action, mystery and girlfriends.  Make sure you pack it in your bag next time you head out!

3 out of 5 stars


bermudaonion said...

I enjoyed this book but think I would have liked it more if I'd read Ten Beach Road first.

Zibilee said...

I have both of these books, and I am thinking about taking a long weekend to read them back to back. Wendy Wax is such a wonderful woman, and I just know how much you loved Ten Beach Road, so I was excited to start that one. Now that I know this one similar and also made you very pleased, I am really excited! Thanks for the great review today, Sandy!

Julie P. said...

I reviewed this one today too! I think I really missed out by not reading TEN BEACH ROAD. I had some pretty big issues with the book.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I have Ten Beach Road so I am thinking I should pick this up so I can read them in order. I am about due for a good beach read or two!

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Meg @ write meg! said...

I've heard such good things about Wendy Wax, and I actually have a copy of Ten Beach Road waiting patiently on my shelves. It looks so good and summery... will definitely have to grab it by August's end!

Kathleen said...

Sounds like a fun beach/vacation read!