REVIEW: Pride and Piña Coladas (PARADISE BAY SERIES Book 5) by Melanie Summers

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From best-selling author Melanie Summers comes a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that’ll have you laughing, swooning, and sipping fruity blender drinks…

I’m Nora Cooper—single woman about to turn thirty, wildly unsuccessful plant fanatic, and event planner at Paradise Bay Resort. My shot at ‘the big time’ has finally arrived—the resort is hosting the World Bartender Championships and I’ve been asked to head up the hospitality team.

There’s only one big problem. And his name is Theo Rojas. You’ve heard of his family—they own Rojas Rum (and about 200 other premium liquors, some of which may be on your shelf right now). As the major sponsor of the event, Theo has decided to be onsite, micromanaging every second of the competition.

He’s stuck up, rude, and arrogant (and a bunch of other adjectives I had better not use). He also seems to have added ‘make Nora’s life absolute hell’ to the top of his to-do list.

Too bad for Mr. Grumpy Chinos because he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. I’ve taken on far worse foes than him. And if he thinks he’s going to get the best of me, he’s in for a wake-up call.

So when we find ourselves stranded on a private island overnight, I’m determined to put him in his place once and for all.

Only somehow, instead of continuing our constant sparring, I find myself gazing longingly into his gorgeous eyes.

And now I have totally forgotten all the nasty things I was planning to say to him. Something about him being arrogant, right?

Gah! Someone please send help because I absolutely CANNOT fall for this guy…

Dear Ms. Summers,

So yeah, I’m reading the Paradise Bay series all out of order but this is another winner. Plus yeah, we get to see a bit of Hadley and Heath (from book four) again and watch as they along with Nora start giving baby Opal Minerva valuable “girl talk” lessons before she’s even two hours old. Teach a young child the way she should go and when she grows up she’ll be badass at giving her besties advice on their love lives.

In the past, I have bemoaned when authors have written yet one more homage to Jane Austen but yes, I’m eating my words (or a few of them) by saying I knew this about “Pride and Pina Coladas and kept reading it. Brava for taking what was needed to tell this tale, shifting a few moving pieces, and then producing something that I inhaled in a little less than six hours.

Nora Cooper is jonesing hard for a promotion at work and her big chance is the World Bartending Competition that will be held at Paradise Bay Resorts on the (made up) island of Santa Valentina. She works alongside a BFH but Nora can leave Oakley in her dust if she can pull this off. Sadly this will involve working closely with Theo Rojas whose family has owned Rojas Rums for over 170 years. Nora has worked hard to get where she is and is willing to work harder to get this job done so she doesn’t exactly love the idea of having to jump when a group of 1%ers give her orders.

Theo Rojas finally listened to his younger (and he thinks feckless, “lives to surf”) brother about a promotion idea that has backfired all over the internet. Now he’s desperate to build back up sales in order to protect the 8000 people who work, world wide, at Rojas distilleries. Providing the rum for this contest has him extremely nervous and his stodgy side comes out. Though he and Nora have a meet-horrible, her drive to get things done correctly makes Markos tell his older brother that he thinks Theo and Nora could be a “thing.” Theo initially scoffs at that but soon wonders if he’s going to have to eat his words.

But things aren’t going to go smoothly on the road to Paradise (Bay Resorts) with a catty other woman, a silly younger sister, a cad in board shorts, and two people with the worst timing who are afraid they’ve met their One and that this One is going to get away. Or maybe not?

Yes, I am impressed with how “Pride and Prejudice” gets reworked into a bartending contest on a Caribbean island nation. Huzzah that everyone’s actions are believable even if initially I worried that Nora and Theo’s brief relationship appeared poised to flip from the enemies part to the lovers part too quickly. The change occurs after some (yes, this is a romcom) silly statements made during an argument but after Nora lets herself laugh at an absurdity while eating a wonderful dinner that Theo cooks (a billionaire who cooks!), the ice is broken and a cutthroat game of poker using trail mix for poker chips had me laughing.

Oh but things can’t be that easy so they’re not. Things Happen, there are a few (believable) misunderstandings, Theo can’t help pointing out the obvious which doesn’t help the situation then follows up with a spectacularly inept proposal of his feelings (come on, this is the 21st century, the man wasn’t going to propose marriage that quickly). I am impressed by how, no matter how bad it might make them look, these two don’t lie to each other. And okay yeah the advice that Markos and Hadley give to them makes them think and rethink and spurs one of them (not giving that away) to go for broke. Maybe it would end in disaster but … maybe not.

The external conflicts are also settled though not quite in the way I mentally worked things out but again, every piece fits, happiness is found, and wow – what a great name for a new company. I actually chuckled out loud when I read it. So, I’m looking forward to the next book and yippee, I have two already out to enjoy. I love instant gratification. B+

~Jayne

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Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 25 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there’s no TSTL characters and is currently reading more fantasy and SciFi.

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