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Shades of Sydney by Brittney Coon - Book Tour & Review + Giveaway

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Sydney West enjoys sampling summer boys, but this year, one refuses to be a one-night stand…
Twenty-one-year-old Sydney doesn’t believe in relationships. Her parents’ toxic divorce has taught her love is nothing but a sinister fairytale. So every summer she parties, hooks up, abandons her lover before dawn, and repeats.

That is until she meets gorgeous local surfer Jason King at the beach…

When Jason fails to flirt—or even give her a second glance—she decides something must be wrong with him, and it’s safer to stay away. But when Sydney and Jason’s best friends hook up and become Malibu’s hottest couple, they are forced to spend more time together than either of them cares for.
Armed with a sharp tongue, Sydney works to keep Jason at bay…

In a moment of weakness, Sydney lets her guard down and confides in Jason, realizing he’s more than just a hot guy—he’s also a friend. And when Sydney’s need for a summer boy results in her falling into bed with Jason, despite her better judgment, she runs away from him by morning.

The problem is, he won’t accept being another one-night stand, and will do anything to prove…

Love really does exist.

Amazon US ~ FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt One:

The thrill of the game winded down. People broke away in groups of two and three. I wanted to call it a night and see if any beer was left.
“I challenge you, Sydney, to a game of Truth or Dare,” Jason declared.
I sunk into the sofa and glared at him with my mouth agape. “Are you serious?”
Of course now is when he decides to say my name correctly.
He nodded, flashing a wicked grin.
I swallowed. My throat was too dry. I didn’t want to play. I didn’t want to admit truths to a bunch of weirdos. I guess most were drunk, so they wouldn’t remember, but it was the principle of the thing.
“Do you accept?” a boy wearing black jeans and no shirt asked.
The pressure of everyone’s eyes on me was too much. I sighed. “I guess.”
“Good. We got another game, people!” the boy shouted with excitement.

Excerpt Two:

“I can show you some tips. Been surfing all my life,” he said proudly.
“Yes,” Amelia said excitedly, dragging the poor boy to the ocean.
Rolling my eyes, I turned toward the other boy. He was tall, but not über tall, like the other guy. His muscles moved like liquid as he approached me. I had the urge to touch his abs and see if they were as firm as they appeared. His hair was tussled and golden brown, as if sun kissed. His board was a light blue with black stripes. It was a good brand, but a basic print.
“Do you need surfing lessons too or are you here in support?” the boy asked me. His silver eyes mirrored the moon, sending shivers down my shine.
“Umm…I was wanting to be surfing…”
What the hell did I just say?
His eyes sparkled with laughter, but he didn’t mock me. “I can teach you some tricks if you want.”
I looked at him closer. My stomach fell to the sand. He was the guy I bumped into at that club and he didn’t bother giving me a second look. He kept walking as if I was just another body in the crowd, no one worthy of his attention.
“Were you at Club Purple last night?” I asked.
He tilted his head. “Yes, how did you know?”
“I ran into you and we kept going the same way and then—”
“Oh, right,” he said, nodding as if it all made sense.

Excerpt Three:

“Wait,” he pulled away from me so he could look me square in the eye, “Who said anything about having sex?”
“It’s fine. I know the unspoken rule. The guy is all sweet and cooks for the girl and she gives him entry into her.”
He closed his eyes and ran a hand through his hair. His words were jumbled together as he muttered to himself. I stared at him, wondering why he was upset.
“Damn it, Sydney! Why do you chalk every damn thing up to sex? Life isn’t all about fucking. Sometimes people are just being nice. I didn’t expect anything from you tonight.”
“I assumed…” I mumbled, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear.
“Don’t…at least not with me. Last time was a mistake—”
I fought back my tears. “I didn’t know…I mean I’m sorry I didn’t please you.”
“No, you did.” He leaned in close, brushing the back of his hand down my cheek. “Listen to me. It was too fast. I got caught up in the heat of the moment. You’re a sexy woman and I loved what we did, but usually I wait until the third date before sleeping with a girl.”
Out of habit, I put space between us, enough room for another person to sit in-between. “Why wait?” It was a foreign concept to me.
He stood and paced the length of the couch. “I wait to see if I like the person. Get to know her, see if I can imagine her in my future. Not as a wife or anything, just as someone that would last a lot longer than a one-night stand. I see if I could fall in love with her. If I had sex with every woman, then it would become mundane and meaningless.”
“But I don’t believe in love. That’s why I—”

Shades of Sydney is a very interesting story with a unique take on the typical romance genre. It's not quite like all the others that are out there. 

Sydney, the main character, has a hard heart entombed in ice. She's bitter, jaded, and definitely not one of those "happily ever after" kind of girls. She reminded me of myself when I was in high school and part of my very early twenties.

Amelia is Sydney's best friend, and the total opposite. Amelia believes in fairy-tale romances and being swept off her feet.  She's definitely a fascinating person, and she reminded me a lot of myself in present day.

Sydney and Amelia spend summer vacation in Malibu, ready to party and just have fun. Things start off pretty well for the pair, with Amelia stepping out of her comfort zone and Sydney doing what makes her happy: sleeping with whatever guy tickles her fancy. One-night stands and no strings attached. That's perfect for Sydney.

Enter Jason and Hunter, surfing buddies and best friends. These two guys, when they meet Sydney and Amelia, change everything. For Amelia, that's a good thing. For Sydney, not so much.

She refuses to accept that Jason can't just be another meaningless hookup for her. Love doesn't exist, after all. But Jason plans to make Sydney believe, no matter what.

Ok, so, I have to say that I liked the book, but I also found it extremely frustrating. Mostly because of Sydney. She was stubborn, bull-headed, very jaded, and also very slutty. She didn't believe love was something that existed because of things that happened in her past. She was content hooking up with random guys, using them for sex, then leaving them behind. Her justification was, if guys can do it to girls, why couldn't she turn the tables and be the one to have all the control? While I understood why her character felt that way, it got to be quite annoying at times. I couldn't really connect with her, and I even started to hate her at times. In the end, she sort of redeemed herself, but my, oh, my, she was a tough character to care about.    

I did like the characters of Amelia, Jason, and Hunter. Amelia was this sort of naive little thing, but she had a heart of gold and just wanted to find herself a sweet gentlemanly guy who would love her. It was super cute, and Hunter was definitely the right guy for her. He fit the bill perfectly. Jason also had the nice guy thing going for him, and he also had the patience of a saint. Dealing with Sydney and persuing her the way he did... he deserves a gold medal for that.

Plot-wise, it flowed nicely at a steady pace. There were some grammatical errors here and there, and a few word choices I wasn't too sure about (example: Veronica's Secret rather than Victoria's Secret), but overall, it wasn't a bad read. Even with Sydney's reputation of sleeping around, there wasn't a lot of sex in the story. Just enough to make romance fans happy, I think. 

Overall, I'd rate Shades of Sydney 3.5 stars. A decent read, mostly likeable characters, good plot, and only a few minor errors here and there. if you enjoy romance novels that aren't all sugary and have a very bitter main character, give Brittney Coon's debut novel a chance. You may be surprised by how much you like it. 

Brittney Coon graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a minor in Film and Media Production. Brittney has always been creative and turned to writing to share the stories playing through her head. In her spare time she reads, watches Friends, and hangs out with her cats. She currently lives in Arizona.

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