With his contract negotiations for his current show in limbo, Flynn Wright is thrilled when his agent delivers the news that he’s been offered a part on the newest gay teen drama Coconut Cove. Happy to get away from the uncomfortable non-relationship with his former co-star, Flynn leaves immediately for Key West. Sun, sand, and bright colors bring Flynn to a place of happiness that he never expected, as do his newest friends—namely the stylist and makeup artist.
When the cast takes him to their regular bar after his first day on set, Flynn immediately notices the brooding, moody bartender, Seth. After a night at the bar, trying to ignore the amazingly sexy Seth, Flynn does the impossible and makes Seth smile. Just when the bartender is finally warming up to him, Flynn finds himself the subject of Hollywood drama. His former lover-slash-former-co-star was caught with his pants down and, in order to save face, is trying to drag Flynn down with him. For Seth, who was already hesitant to get involved with a man so prominently in the limelight, it’s sink or swim time—either walk away from Flynn or dive in. But Hollywood is always watching and so are the paparazzi.
Life’s a Beach is Episode 1, or the first installment as we like to call it, in the Coconut Cove series by Poppy Dennison and M.J. O’Shea, each book written by an individual author instead of collaboratively. This one is written by Dennison and can I just say, Brava! Life’s a Beach is the perfect, light-hearted, fun and sweet sea-side/day in the sun read. I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s full of wonderful characters—not only our fabulous MCs, the secondary cast is awesome—and don’t be surprised if you notice a few names while your reading along. These authors throw in a bit of whimsy with the name dropping. It’s cute.
So as for Flynn and Seth, you can’t not love these guys (yes, I see the double negative there—just go with me.) Flynn, when the story begins, is sort of in an awkward position. His not really boyfriend/closet case is basically trying to blackmail him back into bed by holding his contract for the show they work on together hostage. Now to be honest, it takes a bit to realize that’s what he’s doing. The author really could have explained a little better, but eventually it comes together. Then this opportunity falls in Flynn’s lap to not only be on a new up and coming show, but to be the star. It’s a whirlwind and he’s pretty much the little brother that nobody ever had on set so when he meets Seth and things volley back and forth, the cast rallies around to protect him. But Flynn, for all his relationship drama, is a fairly stable guy. He knows who he is and what he wants. And when he wants Seth, he goes for it, but when the Hollywood lifestyle threatens that, he doesn’t push Seth. I like that about him. He wants something enough to fight for it, but he won’t push when it’s going too far. Flynn is the All-American good guy.
This story is just plain fun. The world Dennison and O’Shea have created in Coconut Cove is fantastic. There’s a line that sort of made me giggle. As Flynn and the cast are walking around town on location in Key West after his first shoot and he’s observing the bright houses and the laidback lifestyle he thinks this: “The fictional town of Coconut Cove shared a remarkable resemblance with Key West, Florida.” This is kind of a theme in this story, because whereas these guys are actors, they are Coconut Grove. And the structure of this story plays right along with that. Intermingled with the main storyline of Flynn and Seth, we also get parts of the actual story from Coconut Cove, the television series. Here, let me give you an example:
Mack hurried through the crowd of students outside the high school. He had his new schedule but was supposed to check in with the office before he went to his first class. That would have been great, if he hadn’t stayed up too late on Skype with some friends from back home. The time change from the West Coast was just enough of a bitch that he couldn’t hang out like he wanted to.
A couple guys stood in front of the doors, each with messenger bags slung over their shoulders.
“Excuse me,” Mack said.
The blond turned around, and Mack’s heart leapt. Holy hell. Could this guy be any more perfect? Sky blue eyes, perfect smile, amazing tan. And then he smiled. Mack nearly tripped over his own feet.
“Um, hi,” Mack answered. God, he was such an idiot. Um, hi? Really? He couldn’t think of anything better to say to this guy?
“You must be new here. I’m Kelly. This is Ryder.”
Mack tore his attention away from Kelly and turned to Ryder. Ryder didn’t seem impressed that it had taken Mack so long to notice him. His upper lip curled slightly at Mack’s disheveled appearance. He self-consciously smoothed his hand over his wrinkled T-shirt.
“First day?” Ryder asked with a sneer.
“Yeah. I’m supposed to go to the office first, but I don’t know where it is and I’m late.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll show you. Come on.” Kelly opened the door with a broad smile, and they entered the school.
God, he was good-looking and nice too? Mack couldn’t believe his luck. Maybe he’d have a chance to talk to Kelly later in the day.
“Not like we were in the middle of something,” Ryder bitched under his breath.
Flynn plays Mack, by the way. And not only do we get little tidbits and scenes from the show, but we’re graced with Hollywood gossip via real-life, super fictitious entertainment reporter TV Tiffers. Seriously, I have a feeling the fun is only beginning with this series.
I adored everything about this one. The absolute only reason I didn’t give it a higher rating is because I wanted more. It’s not exactly a happy ever after, very much a happy for now because we certainly have no idea what will come of them in the future, but it looks hopeful. I’m pretty much a HEA kind of girl, but this story did it for me, regardless. If you’re looking for fun, sweet, and angst free, look no further. I definitely recommend Life’s a Beach by Poppy Dennison and cannot wait to see what comes next in this world of Coconut Cove.
Cover: It’s been a minute since I’ve commented on a cover, not that I haven’t loved plenty, because I’m very much the cover slut, but this one is just plain beautiful. To whomever on the Wilde City Team who found this likeness for Flynn, job well done. This cover is absolutely gorgeous and portrays the fun and airiness of the story. I absolutely love it.