Item description for Chocolate Beach by Julie Carobini...
Overview Even a laid-back beach girl has her doubts....
Bri Stone has it all: the man of her dreams and their surf-ridin' teenage son, a chocolate-loving best pal, an adorable beach bungalow, and a kicky job as a Southern California tour bus host.
She also has a few things she didn't ask for: a know-it-all friend, a snobby mother-in-law, and a Fabio-meets-Dilbert boss. All three of them seem eager to share their strong opinions and suspicions about Bri's relationship with her husband, Douglas.
When Bri's rose-colored glasses crack after she finds evidence that Douglas has grown tired of her carefree ways, she resolves to win him back. Can Bri reinvent herself?and recapture his heart?
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Studio: Bethany House
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.38" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.88" Weight: 0.66 lbs.
Release Date Feb 1, 2007
Publisher BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS #7
ISBN 0764202618 ISBN13 9780764202612
Availability 0 units.
More About Julie Carobini
Julie Carobini is the bestselling author of the Chocolate Series, as well as the Otter Bay Novels: Sweet Waters, A Shore Thing, and Fade to Blue. She has won numerous awards, and RT Book Reviews says, "Carobini has a talent for creating characters that come alive." Julie lives in California with her family and loves all things coastal (except sharks). Visit her at: www.juliecarobini.com
Julie Carobini has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Chocolate Beach?
Witty Entertainment, But Not Empty Mar 12, 2007
There's an elephant in the room which I need to address. If you took a look at the Publishers Weekly review, you know what I mean. Quite the coup for a first-time novelist from a Christian publishing house to receive such notice. Except for the part of the review that delivers some tough criticism. Here's probably the harshest line: "the series of misunderstandings that she [the protagonist] substitutes for actual problems give the novel a contrived feel"
Don't get me wrong--I respect PW and know that their approval (which they end up giving Chocolate Beach in small doses) can mean a lot to the success of a novel. However, they are not infallible. In this instance, they got it wrong. Not totally. But still wrong.
Yes, protagonist Brianna Stone does seem to have an ideal life. I thought it sounded about perfect and sort of smiled when she found her day at her beach home with her one son and lawyer husband so exhausting she needed to take a nap. But Bri's worries are not based on misunderstandings, as PW suggests. Nor does the one comment from her friend send her off doing drastic things to her lifestyle.
Instead, a sequence of events, one after the other, expose a problem at her core--a problem she handles badly. All of these circumstances taken together work powerfully to teach Bri what change she really needs to make. Which is the way I see God so often working in my life.
Strengths. There are many. For one, I agree with PW that Carobini's "descriptions of characters and events are often witty and engaging." The book was fun, humorous, yes, witty.
Carobini also has such a strong, fresh voice and has the knack of making each of her characters unique and interesting. Bri, of course, is the strongest. She is a likable protagonist, convincing--someone I found myself caring for, worrying with. Her jaunty tone contrasted with several of the uptight women in her life, setting her apart in a positive way.
The story is delightful--the unexpected and worrisome mixed with the humorous. Carobini sprinkles the story liberally with pop-culture allusions that add an interesting dimension. Plus, I found the events believable, especially as backstory was layered in. No, some of the deep hurts of Bri's past do not become the focus of the story, nor should they in a mom-lit story. What does happen is the realization of a new way to handle hurts. Which brings me to the theme of the story. * * * SPOILER ALERT * * * If I had to spell it out, I'd use lines straight from the book--not because Carobini preached, but because her character discovered what she needed to know: "Not that I don't believe there's power in transformation. Oh, I do, I do! I think, though, that it should start with the mind and the heart, not rumors and fears."
It seems to me the PW reviewer missed this point in stating that the story was built upon misunderstandings. It was not. It was built on Bri's doubts and fears, all well established throughout the story, but not belabored. After all, this is mom-lit. * * * End SPOILER ALERT * * *
Weakness. As I've already mentioned, in the beginning I had a little bit of a desire to head-slap Bri for not drinking in her perfect life. Of course, that was because as I first viewed her life, it looked quite appealing, something I wouldn't mind too much if I were forced to take her place.
But as I began to see her life as she saw it, to understand that she had good reasons for her concerns, my empathy for her grew and my belief in the rightness of her reactions cancelled out those early inclinations.
Recommendation. I enjoyed this book immensely, even though it is not my genre of choice. It was fun to read and the character stayed on my mind for days after. I was sorry I didn't have some way of checking in on Bri to see how she is doing now. I highly recommend this entertaining, light book for all fans of mo
EXTREME MAKEOVER DRAMA AND FUN Mar 6, 2007
As soon as I picked up this book, I felt whisked away to the sunny coast of California. Julie Carobini's debut novel will warm you to your toes with quirky dialogue and characters you want for your new best friends.
Married for 14 years to a handsome, rising-star attorney, Brianna begins to suspect that her flip-flops and microwaved cuisine are no longer capturing the heart of her husband. He's starting to work longer hours and travel extensively, leaving Bri alone to raise their surfer-dude teenage son. Still deeply in love, Brianna sets out to reinvent herself.
Readers who love extreme makeover TV will get a kick out of the interior design drama and Bri's new wardrobe and glamorous hairstyle. But will it work?
Encouraged by her longtime friend, Gaby, Bri learns to trust God with the details. The rich enjoyment of chocolate bonds their friendship throughout, making Carobini's first book pure delight to read.
--Christian Women Online Book Buzz
A Delightful First Novel Feb 26, 2007
If you are looking for a light, breezy read, I highly recommend CHOCOLATE BEACH. Julie Carobini has created realistic characters which spriing to life in this story told told from the view of Bri Stone. I loved it and can't wait until her next book releases.
Chocolate Lit Feb 10, 2007
This book is a fresh breath of air in the mom-lit genre. It starts with a classic chick-lit scene. Guy meets girl, who is a crazy barista. They fall in love even though they are extreme opposites. Fast forward about fifteen years to the first chapter.
That young man is now an attorney who rarely makes it home, and Bri wonders if it's her. Have their differences finally reached the point where they've driven them apart? Maybe the pressures of being the parents of a teenager are too much for them? Could there be someone else coming between them? The rest of the book frolics through her attempts to change and recapture her husband's attention. Some of her attempts are more successful than others, which left me groaning even as I knew I'd try the same things. Throughout it's a fun read.
This is the author's first book, and it has a light, fun voice. I don't read a lot of mom-lit, I guess I'd call it, but I loved the voice! Bri is a fun character and someone that I imagine I'd love as a best friend. The whackiness in her life is fairly true to life but just enough away from mine to make it fun to read.
Delicious! Feb 7, 2007
In Julie Carobine's debut novel, Chocolate Beach, readers and fans of chick-lit are entertained in delicious fashion! With protagonist Bri Stone, the quintessential California beach girl now grown up and married with a life of her own, having doubts about her successful husband and the otherwise "perfect" life they shared with their teenage son, the wind and waves of this So Cal novel will captivate the reader from first page to last.