A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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That One Time in California by Ella Beachley: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Returning home stirs up more than just memories.

Jill Marshall thought she had it all: a skyrocketing career, an exciting life in Portland, and a tight-knit group of friends. But when she’s summoned back to her sunny Southern California hometown for her parents’ retirement party, she’s forced to confront everything she left behind a decade ago, including her ex-husband and his new family.

Jill expects an awkward week home, but she doesn’t expect to be blindsided by how much she misses the laid-back beach town of her childhood. Even more surprising is her connection with Burke Andrews, another of her twin brother’s best friends who used to be the quintessential brooding surfer. Now he might be exactly what Jill needs . . . except Burke’s complicated life is a chaotic rip current threatening to pull her back in.

As the week unfolds, Jill is pulled between her past and her present, her feelings for Burke and her hard-won independence. Can she reconnect with her roots without destroying the life she worked so hard to build?

That One Time in California is a kisses-only romance and the third book in Ella Beachley’s That One Time series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but it is best enjoyed in order.

Content Warning: While this is a sweet romance, there are themes of miscarriage and infertility and autism awareness.

Ella Beachley is happiest at the beach—any beach. She also enjoys fish tacos, hiking, and witty conversations with friends.

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That One Time in California
is the second book in the That One Time series. While characters from the previous books do make appearances, I do believe this could be enjoyed as a standalone as well. 

What a great read this was! Right away, I was drawn into Jill and Burke's story. Burke was one of Jill's twin brother's best friends whom she'd also been friends with as a teenager. She had married another of their best friend's and hadn't seen any of them since that ended in divorce... until she returned for her parent's retirement celebration. There was definitely a lot going on here that could have been super messy and unbelievable, but it was done so very well. I loved seeing how they both had pasts that they had learned from and brought them to this point. They had such an easy chemistry between them, and I couldn't help but love them together. 

As great as the romance was, I also loved the other relationships we see in the story as well. The friend groups were great, and I just adored Jill's parents and their relationship with their bonus children. 
Burke's relationship with his son was great too. As the mom to an autistic child myself, I thought the author did a good job with the character. It didn't shy away from the struggles that that can sometimes bring... but also didn't dwell on them or use them for sympathy either, which I've unfortunately seen in other stories. There was definitely a feeling of family in the story, and I loved it. 

That One Time in California is a closed-door romance with kisses only and no language. There were mentions of miscarriage and infertility which could be triggering for some readers. 

Get your copy: https://amzn.to/4af0nOr


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