Sunday, July 19, 2015

Release Day Review ~ Outside ~ Michelle Mankin

Rock Star, Surf, and Second Chances #1
Release Date: July 19, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an advance copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased my own copy on Kindle.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

When handsome California surf god Lincoln Savage suddenly rolls into Ocean Beach like a rogue wave, shy beauty Simone Bianchi's foundation is shaken. No longer under the thumb of her domineering father, she's made a simple quiet life for herself and her fluffy fourteen pound Havanese pup running a surf shop in her hometown of OB. Long ago she gave up her dreams for a future with Linc.

But now the notorious lead singer of the Dirt Dogs has returned, and Simone is reluctant to admit that she's still vulnerable to his killer dimpled smile and easy charm. She finds that although she's stowed away the mementos, it hasn't been as easy to erase the memories of their epic summer love.

It seems he hasn't forgotten, either.

Is the recording contract he's offering merely a pretense?

Or does he have something more in mind?

Does he really believe that they can just pick up where they left off, despite all the bad luck and heartache?

And is she willing to risk everything again for one last chance at love?

This may be my favorite from Mankin yet! She said she loved these characters and it shows in her writing. I love them, too.

The way Simone "Mona" and Linc's story is told plays well. It's told in three parts, Present, Past, and Present, and in dual POV. And the way Mankin presents Mona and Linc's backstory was clever. We meet Mona after 15 years have passed following the end of her ill-fated relationship with Linc. She's made a nice life for herself but there's something missing. When Linc shows up on Ocean Beach again, Mona's isn't sure she's ready or even willing to listen to anything he has to say. She'd thought she'd put that part of her life behind her. When we meet Linc, he's grown up. Seeing the difference between his younger self and the man he's become was startling. He's always been a determined man, doing everything in his power to win what he wants. And he's determined to win back the love he stupidly threw away.

Reminiscing over photos of that summer, we learn the story of the summer they fell in love. We see the connection these two forge - it's a powerful love. Their relationship was intense and although they were young when they found one another, their love grew organically and I felt it. The Past section also conveyed the very different people Mona and Linc were that summer and that made the contrast with who they are now that much more stark. Their childhoods affected them both significantly and it showed in their personality and actions. 

Back in the Present, Mona and Linc have to determine if their love is a love that, despite the tempestuous waters they've navigated, will endure. Watching as these two find one another again, grabbing onto the second chance they've been given was awe-inspiring. I happen to believe that things happen for a reason so I like thinking that Mona and Linc had to endure some trials and tribulations to get to a place where they really appreciated what they have.

I adore Mankin's style. Her use of many definitions of 'outside' is clever. I appreciated her surfing metaphors. The fact that Mona and Linc are older characters was also a plus. Add all that with the delivery of a second chance love story with rock stars and surfers and you get an incredibly poignant read!


  1. Oi but I'm sure it is good. It's Mankin after all! Even if I hate the characters, I still end up loving the book because of the plot and what she does with the story. Fab review, B!

  2. Tempestuous can be *so* good sometimes! I like the sound of this so much! One of my biggest regrets is never learning to surf :(

  3. I like this author a lot and rock star? You know I am buying it! Thanks for putting it on my radar :)

  4. This sounds like a fantastic read! I love it when a couple gets a second chance at love! And Simone is my sisters name... I must read it, right?

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

  5. i love the theme of second chance love stories and sounds like it could also be a nice beach read

  6. Oh I need this book! Second chance at love, AND a dimpled smile? Plus music? Yeah, I have to hurry up and read Mankin's books, Brandee. Your review practically made me salivate :)

  7. You do need this book, Lexxie. It was fantastic! It has all the elements we enjoy in a book. :) **BIG HUGS**

  8. It would make a nice beach read, Brandi. Michelle does an excellent job with making feel like you're on the beach. :)

  9. If your sister's name is Simone, YES you must read this! ;) It is a great story, Naomi. I really enjoyed it, obviously. I'm really happy Linc and Simone got their second chance. :)

  10. My pleasure, Lorna! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. :)

  11. I grew up visiting the beach, but never learned to surf either, Ramona. With Outside, Michelle did a great job of putting you on the beach, and even on the board waiting on *that* wave. I could really understand the pull of surfing. And Linc and Mona's story was wonderful. Yeah, tempestuous can be good sometimes. :)

  12. I don't think you'll hate these characters AT ALL, Braine. I'm loving how Mankin's writing is maturing. And this story was...oh, so good. :)

  13. Rock stars and surfers! I'm totally entering the giveaway! I like second chance stories too even though I have a rule against that. You are such an optimist even as a book girl...everything happens for a reason. Great review, Brandee!


Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??