Book Review: Life’s a Beach by Jamie K. Schmidt

At the time I’m writing this review, I’m just getting out of November and trying to catch up on all my reading, and it hasn’t been easy. This book came along at the perfect time. I was between long novels with heavier content, and I needed something light and cute and fun, and this fulfilled all of those.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One-Sentence Synopsis
After getting fired from her job and finding her boyfriend in bed with her barista, a woman goes to Hawaii and decides to have a fling with the local beach bum, not knowing he’s also the owner of the resort she’s staying at. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

So You Had a Bad Day
From the start, Amelia was a likable character, and the fact that she starts the novel on the crappiest of crappy days makes her endearing and relateable. It’s bad enough she gets fired for refusing to give up her planned vacation, but then she finds her loser boyfriend in bed with her barista, which means she’s out of a place to live too (and her favorite coffee). Instead of cancelling the vacation she’d intended to take her boyfriend on, she takes her aunt instead, and heads to Hawaii.

Secret Billionaire
Things there don’t start out much better, considering her resort is so rundown. But then she meets Dude and decides to have a two-week fling with the snorkeling instructor beach bum who spends most of his time in a hammock drinking beer. Dude is actually Samuel Kincaide, one of the billionaire owners of the resort who’s trying to sell so he doesn’t have to deal with the stress. He likes his laid back life and is up for a fling, but when he realizes that Amelia doesn’t like rich guys, he keeps his true identity a secret. After all, it’s only for two weeks, right?

Alright, Alright, Alright
When Dude is Samuel, he comes across as a douche and when he’s Dude, he comes across as a lazy beach bum who made me think of a mix of Matthew McConaughey and the guy from The Big Lebowski, which was inevitable with a name like Dude. But I totally adored him, especially when he started falling for Amelia.

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Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
Samuel’s secret was just one of a few different conflicts in this book. He’s also dealing with a local Yakuza mob boss who wants to buy the resort at a much lower price, which in turn leads to Amelia’s life being put in danger. Amelia is also conflicted. She’s afraid to tell Dude she’s staying on the island because she’d only agreed to a fling, and she thinks he’ll freak out if she tells him she’s staying.

Independent Women
While some of the conflicts seemed a little silly and self-imposed, some things felt more realistic than they do in most romance novels. For instance, there are several points where Amelia sought out time to herself or decided not to spend the night with Dude because she was tired. You go, girl! Because no matter how hot a fling is, sometimes you just need some time by yourself.

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The Romance Factor
I loved the romance in this. You know how a beach fling like this is going to turn out, but it’s still so great to read it as it plays out. From the beginning, Dude and Amelia are sweet and tender with each other, but there’s also a lot of fun banter between them. I will say, the angst is a little low later in the book, but it didn’t detract from the romance too much. 4/5

The Steam Factor
These two characters definitely get the most out of their vacation fling with a lot of detailed sexy times. Their affair was consensual and conscious choice, and as they became comfortable with each other, they experimented with new things. There was also no guilt, and never once does Amelia feel bad for making the choice to get all up in Samuel’s business. Steamy and sex positive for the win! 5/5

Final Thoughts
This was exactly what I needed for a quick weekend read. The main characters were great, the side characters (and there seemed to be a lot of them, though not so many they detracted from the main story) were interesting (especially Amelia’s fortune-telling aunt), and though not as angsty as some novels, it definitely gave me warm fuzzies.

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