A big apology to author, Jules Barnard, for missing my posting date. I finished the book and typed up the following review while on vacation, but my flakey internet access prevented me from posting.
Mira Frasier has worked hard to pull herself out of the darkness of her Tahoe reservation childhood, but rough beginnings shape a person in all the wrong ways. Mira gets mixed up with shady people while trying to bail out her destitute mother—and now Mira’s life is in danger.
Tyler Morgan grew up a star athlete and scholar, but a tragedy he hasn’t dealt with has him regrouping in his home town of South Lake Tahoe. The last person he expects to see is Mira, the girl he lost his virginity to in high school, and the only woman who ever took a piece of his heart. He’d rather live in a tent than do what his sister asks and stay with Mira while they figure out how to keep her safe from the men who attacked her.
To ensure Mira remains in his past where she belongs, Tyler agrees to look out for her temporarily until she’s safe enough to move out on her own. And if he has to push that process along by snooping around and figuring out what she’s hiding, he’ll do that too. Only, Mira is still beautiful, and she’s feisty as hell, and she has all his attention—just like she did six years before.
Mira is driving Tyler crazy, the tension between them off the charts while they’re trapped under the same roof. Something is going to crack. Will it be Mira’s last hold on a haunted life, or Tyler’s self-control around the one girl he’s never been able to get over?
I read Blue Crush earlier this year and fell in love with the characters Jules Barnard created and the incredible chemistry she develops between them, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on True Blue. I gotta admit, I was not a fan of Mira’s after reading Blue Crush, so the fact that True Blue was from both her and Tyler’s points of view made this one of my most anticipated sequels of the year. And it delivered!
We get to roll around inside Mira’s head and see why she is the way she is, why she relies so heavily on Lewis, and what her issues with Gen really were. But more importantly, we learn why she’s so damaged and more about the past that continues to haunt her. Man I just love her. We also get to see a lot more of Tyler Morgan, the younger brother of Gen’s roommate, Cali. Mira and Tyler have a history that is hinted at in Blue Crush and we finally get to see what that’s all about, and it’s intense.
Once again, Jules Barnard balances a solid main plot with a variety of subplots that keep you guessing. The book opens in middle school where we learn the history of Mira and Tyler, then zooms through to high school where we learn about the miscommunication that sets up the animosity between these two. Add to that Mira’s loan shark trouble, a less than stellar mother, and some shady characters at Blue Casino, and True Blue is a page turner.
I really only have two complaints, two things that really keep this from being a full five-star for me. The first is a rushed climax. After building a lot of intrigue and potential danger, I feel like it all culminated too quickly and wrapped up easier than it should have. The second is that after so thoroughly developing the conflict up front that weaves through the remainder of the book, it would have been nice for Mira and Tyler to have addressed what happened in high school. The reader gets an in-depth understanding, but I think if Mira and Tyler had really hashed it out, it could have made a compelling and emotional scene.
Once again, the story takes place in beautiful Lake Tahoe, one of my personal favorite vacation spots. It’s fun to read about places I know well. I can so vividly picture the setting, that I needed to remind myself a couple of times that the people are fictional even if the town is not.
I love Mira. She’s flawed and damaged and misunderstood, but this makes her growth that much more satisfying. And Tyler is awesome. Even though he’s deeply wounded, he still does the right thing. But he’s not perfect. He’s human, makes mistakes, does things that make you want to scream at him, but those are the things that make him so believable, and also what makes him perfect for Mira. We get to see a bit more of Lewis and Gen, too, which is nice. I’m hoping the next book in the series gets us inside Zach’s head because he’s fast becoming my favorite character.
Top Five Things I Love About True Blue
1. Mira’s boss Hayden Tate. She’s the boss everyone should have.
2. Mira. She’s such a well-developed character, I have to remind myself she’s fictional.
3. Tyler. He’s perfect for Mira, but he’s not perfect. He’s sweet, but a guy. He’s not an alpha male and that’s just so refreshing for a change.
4. The prologue. I’m not usually a fan of prologues, but it’s just so well done and sets the stage so perfectly, it’s hard not to love it.
5. The Lake Tahoe setting. Love, love, love it. It’s beautifully authentic.
True Blue is full of incredibly real characters coping with real-life problems in authentic ways. It’s full of angst, conflict, and satisfying moments of sweetness.
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book
Title: True Blue
Series: Blue #3
Author: Jules Barnard
Release Date: November 17, 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4-1/2 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
About the Author
Jules Barnard is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended UC Davis, whose college landscape often finds its way into her New Adult novels. She has a Master’s degree and spent many an hour running statistical analysis, until she realized her favorite part of the job was writing reports. She decided to cut out the math and add in some hot guys, and so began her career as a novelist.
Jules is a Northern California native living on the coast with her husband and two children. She has no impulse control around cupcakes and credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.