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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cruising Toward Love by Christi Barth

Cruising Toward Love by Christi Barth
Publisher: Siren-BookStrand
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (312 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Sunflower

When her sister is left at the altar, Zoe Balis takes the bride’s unused ticket for the honeymoon cruise. But she didn't count on sharing a cabin with the man who broke her heart ten years ago!

Army medic Nate Hyatt never told Zoe the real reason he dumped her. And he never stopped dreaming about the girl he left behind. Could this voyage be his chance to fix the worst mistake he ever made?

Once aboard, Zoe and Nate team up on an island-hopping treasure hunt. The stakes grow higher with each of Zoe’s mysterious brushes with death. They race to discover why she's a target and who's behind it.

Zoe’s never gotten over her first love. Can Nate breach her defenses and suture her broken heart? Grab a deck chair and see if they survive the stormy relationship seas as they cruise toward love!

You can let go of the past, but what happens when the past doesn't let go of you? Zoe Balis doesn't have much of a chance to fully let go of the heartbreak her first love caused her all those years ago. Wherever she goes, there's a constant reminder that Nate Hyatt stood her up at prom. Why does everyone have to bring up what happened all the time?

And now, Zoe has to face Nate. At her sister's wedding. Or, almost wedding. What a tense moment when Nate is the one to break the news to the bride and surrounding family about the groom's cold feet. Talk about awkward! Zoe already hates him, and then he has to be the bearer of bad news? I wouldn't want to be in his shoes at that moment.

Then it only gets better from there! The two are stuck sharing a cabin on a cruise meant for the honeymooners! More tension! Ms. Barth kicks it up a notch as the storyline progresses. Let the fun begin, right? Fun...what fun? Not in Nate's eyes, and certainly not in Zoe's. The situation is disastrous!

Cruising Toward Love doesn't have just one conflicted couple, but two. Along for the ride on the cruise is a crew member, Reed, and a passenger named Callie. Reed has his own dark secrets and inner conflict, and Callie is footloose, free, and rich. She doesn't flaunt the fact that she's rich, but she doesn't care who knows it. Zoe and Callie meet up on the ship, while Nate and Reed hit it off, and often times in the book the four characters are doing activities together aboard the ship. Callie and Reed know the story between Zoe and Nate, or at least, know one person's side of it. I love that this book has a second romance within it. Ms. Barth creates characters that are real. Readers can relate to them, good and bad.

I love how the cruise brings Zoe and Nate together. The author does a wonderful job in keeping the conflict active, but not overdone. Their problems take time to resolve, and though Zoe was snappish through the first part of the book, it didn't stick the whole time. She allowed herself to be open and friendly with Nate after while, even before things got better for the two.

Even though Zoe's sister was only in the beginning part of the story, her character remained in my mind, and I'm hoping that sometime in the future she gets her own happily ever after. She deserves it.

There's a bit of a suspenseful sub plot in the story. It's not the main focus of the book, but it does add a little extra intrigue. I enjoyed this fun, witty, and romantic novel. Readers, if you enjoy a story with a reunited couple, then cruise towards your nearest online outlet and get yourself a copy of this book!