The Last Summer (Brandy Bruce) – Review + Giveaway!

The Last Summer Tour Banner

4-5 stars

~ About the Book ~

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

Release date:  9 June 2017
Pages:  236
Publisher:  Bling! Romance

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

They all exchanged looks around the table. I felt like they were having this private conversation and hoped the conclusion would be that they wanted me. Because there was something special about the people at this table. The way they kidded and joked and touched each other and moved like one breathing organism. The way they did seem like a family. Six people connected to each other. I wanted to be the seventh.
“I have a feeling, Sara Witherspoon,” Addison said, tilting her head to the side and studying me as though she could see all the way to my heart, “you belong too.”
I don’t know how she knew, but she did. Like I said, Addison is the leader. She’s the glue. Once she said those words, all tension melted away, and I was included. If Addison said I belonged, I did. She reminded me of Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. If Mrs. Wilkes was the cool-headed voice of reason that could settle the chaos around her, Addison was that same strong, trusted constant amid these six friends. Her word was law. And from that day forward, the six people around that table at Isabella’s became like six extensions of myself.

We were a circle. Within a month, Jason asked me to go out to dinner with him. Luke hadn’t shown any romantic interest in me, and there was Jason, with that thick, dark hair and playful personality and handful of tattoos on his olive skin—how could I say no? We started dating. A year after that, we broke up. As much as I truly liked Jason and couldn’t help feeling attracted to him, I hadn’t fallen in love. I couldn’t picture us married and having babies. We were better as friends. I know Jason didn’t agree, but he and I both refused to let our break up damage the circle. Eventually, things between us returned to normal.

During my dating-Jason phase, Sam and Lily got married, which didn’t really change anything since they were already such a unit. I realized early on that Luke and Debra were never an item. I’d mistaken Debra’s warm and friendly demeanor and Luke’s tendency to be protective and kind as the traits of a dating couple, but those endearing qualities of both of them extended to all of us. My crush on Luke diminished as Jason and I dated and then shifted to ‘just friends.’

Sort of.

And somewhere along the way, painfully, Luke and I became best friends.

~ Review ~

This is a story that’s really difficult to put down once you’ve picked it up. The need to know how Sara’s story would end kept me glued to the page with equal amounts of heartache and hope—although, like Sara, I wasn’t quite sure what I was hoping for, because it was obvious that there wasn’t a solution that would make everyone happy. But that was part of what made this story such a compelling read. Real life doesn’t always have nice, clean solutions to the situations that arise, but it’s that messiness that stretches and grows us as Christians, and that’s exactly what happened to Sara in this story.

The characters and the dialogue in this novel were fantastic, and Sara showed great strength of character in the way she handled everything. She was hurting, confused, disappointed, even angry at times, and yet she valued her friendships enough that she determined not to let those feelings dominate her actions.

Even so, where is she supposed to go from here? Luke had been her best friend. (And I confess I felt like bopping him on the head when he tried to tell Sara that his dating someone else didn’t have to change their friendship! Hello?! Wake up call!) Will time and the possibility of a new relationship ease the pain, or will she always long for someone who can’t be hers? And even if he does break things off with Debra, how can they build a relationship at the expense of someone else’s pain?

One of the best things about this novel is its portrayal of authentic, realistic, down-to-earth, Christlike friendship. Oh, that every twenty-something-year-old could have a group of friends like this one! There are light-hearted and heart-warming moments amid Sara’s struggle, and there is truth and compassion, grace and forgiveness, and simple, but hard-earned wisdom in these pages. This story and its characters will latch on and not let you go. You have been warned! But it’s worth it. So worth it.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of this review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ Giveaway ~

One lucky reader (US addresses only) will receive a The Last Summer summer prize pack, with lots of fun goodies, including a copy of the book, from Brandy Bruce. Click here to go to the Rafflecopter giveaway:

the last summer giveaway

~ About the Author ~

brandy bruceBrandy Bruce is a mother, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who seriously loves dessert. Originally from Texas, she now makes her home in Colorado with her husband and three children. She’s the author of Looks Like Love, The Romano Family Collection, and The Last Summer.

Connect with Brandy:
Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest

~ Tour Schedule ~

July 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower (kickoff)
July 4 – A Baker’s Perspective
July 5 – Christian Bookaholic
July 6 – Melony Teague
July 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower (review)
July 8 – Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
July 9 – Fiction Aficionado
July 10 – Northern Belle

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, New Releases, Romance and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The Last Summer (Brandy Bruce) – Review + Giveaway!

  1. Carrie says:

    “One of the best things about this novel is its portrayal of authentic, realistic, down-to-earth, Christlike friendship. Oh, that every twenty-something-year-old could have a group of friends like this one!” – yes! I loved that too! Thanks for being part of the tour, Katie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brandy says:

    What a beautiful and thoughtful review!!! Thank you so much, Katie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your insights, Katie!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sabrina Templin says:

    Thank you for your insights KAtie! 😀 It sounds like a book one wants to embrace. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Karin says:

    I really want to read this! I read to escape real life, but love it when things don’t come easily. Thanks for a wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Winnie Thomas says:

    Yet another book for my TBR pile! I’m so glad I have amazing book blogger friends that continue to feed my book addiction! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy M says:

    The cover alone peaked my interest in this book, but after reading…”Real life doesn’t always have nice, clean solutions to the situations that arise, but it’s that messiness that stretches and grows us as Christians,” I’m even more enthusiastic to find out more about Sara and her friends. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Katie, would you be ok with me including a link this blog post in a book review blog post? I don’t have a date yet… but I thought it would make a nice bonus with you including the excerpt.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: The Last Summer by: Brandy Bruce – Joy of Reading

  10. Pingback: Best of 2017 – The Emoji Files, Part IV: Got Me in the Feels | Fiction Aficionado

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