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11 April 2016

Review: 'Sunbaked' by Junie Coffey (2015)

Welcome to Pineapple Cay, the new hometown of Nina Spark.

Things seemed to get off to a good start. Nina’s new hometown is the charming village of Coconut Cove, with its narrow lanes lined with candy coloured houses and gardens overflowing with tropical flowers. Her back yard is a white sand beach and the mesmerizing turquoise sea. 

But local big shot Barry Bassett has his eye on Nina’s cozy little beach cottage with the aim of tearing it down to build condos. Then Barry’s obnoxious wife Tiffany goes missing, and Nina finds herself sitting across a desk from the very serious chief of police, Blue Roker, wondering how her day dream of easy living in the islands got so far off track so quickly.

Join Nina Spark and her new best friends, the philosophizing mailman Danish Jensen and the ever cheerful Pansy Gallagher, as they careen around Pineapple Cay at the maximum speed of fifteen miles an hour in a golf cart, trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

Spring is in the air and here in the Netherlands we had our first sunny Spring day last week! I personally love it when it's a bit colder outside, but sometimes I tend to forget how nice the first days of Spring can be. While I was enjoying the sunshine I was looking for a read that would fit the weather and my mood, and I immediately pulled my paperback copy of Junie Coffey's 'Sunbaked' out of my review pile. This book was released in 2015 and I received a copy to read and review thanks to the author herself. As I'm cleaning up my TBR-list at the moment, it seemed like the perfect time to finally join Junie's characters in the Caribbean; something I should have done a lot sooner!

After Nina Spark discovers her husband is cheating on her, she knows there's no other solution but a divorce. While questioning what she's going to do with her life now she's newly single, she decides to make one of her dreams come true by, on a whim, buying her very own cottage on a beach in the Caribbean. Sundrift Cottage on the island of Pineapple Cay offers the peace and quiet Nina currently needs, and luckily the inhabitants of the island are happy to welcome her. Except for Barry Bassett, who had his eye on the ground of Nina's new cottage in order to expand his holiday emporium. When Barry's wife unexplainedly disappears, the village of Coconut Cove is confronted with a mystery and Nina somehow finds herself in the middle of it...

'Sunbaked' is author Junie Coffey's debut novel and in my opinion an entertaining and promising start to her career. The cover and descriptions definitely transported me to hot summer days on a paradise island somewhere, so if you're looking for a women's fiction read that does just that, certainly pick this up. At first I wasn't completely sure where the novel would go, but after a few chapters it turned out to be a mix of both romance and mystery. A millionaire's trophy wife suddenly disappears and a lot of the island inhabitants, including newcomer and protagonist Nina, work together to try and solve the case. Next to that, the focus also lies on how Nina is settling in in her new home and how she's dealing with moving on from her divorce.

While I did feel I didn't really get to know Nina as much as I perhaps would have liked, she was an easily likeable main character, surrounded by a good group of secondary characters in the form of realtor Pansy, neighbour Ted who owns the hishing lodge next-door to Nina, and do-it-all Danish, who was crazy but loveable at the same time. The book is a relatively quick read with just 250 pages, and in my eyes a good beginning of a new series. I can definitely see more stories set in Coconut Cove and would love to read more about the island and the people. Overall, Junie Coffey's 'Sunbaked' is a thoroughly entertaining, fast-paced and captivating read set on a paradise island in the Caribbean; a mixture of mystery and romance and a promising debut!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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