Monday, February 14, 2022

Book Review: A Sunrise Over Bali

By Sara Steven

Home is where the heart is...

When Jaelee Tan leaves her high-flying PR job in Miami for a sabbatical in Bali, the last thing she expects is for it to become permanent. But when her boss demands the trip be cut short, Jae does the only thing she can think of and quits on the spot.

With two months in Bali, a new group of friends and the gorgeous scenery and beaches, Jae is determined to make the most of her new-found freedom. And when she locks eyes with hunky Scot, Alistair, Jae wonders if she’ll lose her heart to more than just a Balinese sunrise. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

While reading A Sunrise Over Bali, I felt as though some of the characters were familiar, as though I’d read about them before. Then I realized that one of Jaelee’s best friends, Cat, was the main character in That Night in Paris! I always appreciate when I am reintroduced to other well-known characters, adding a deeper layer to what Jaelee experiences when she leaves Florida behind. 

Throughout most of the story, I couldn’t help but feel envious. Sandy Barker did a fantastic job of explaining the backdrop of Bali, making me wish for my own sabbatical. The synopsis mentions gorgeous scenery and beaches, but we also get to see even more through Jaelee’s viewpoint; tropical businesses, great food, with a delectable coffee shop just five minutes or so down the road. It’s obvious that Jaelee left behind a very stressful, complicated life in Miami, endearing the reader to her situation. Yet, after she quits her job, she’s unsure of whether the trip was really ever a sabbatical, or a way for her to heal from past wounds and hurts. 

I loved Jaelee’s new friends. I often feel that the right people come into your world when you least expect it, and are there for you in whatever capacity you might need at that time, and this was proven true within the story. There are moments with Cat, of course, that remind of the close ties of a long-lasting friendship, and then there are the budding friendships that have the potential to last a lifetime, and it was sweet to see. From the get go, it’s obvious that Jaelee isn’t always able to emotionally express herself, a side effect of the contentious relationship she has with her mother. So, we get to see bonds form, and walls slowly crumble, in order for Jaelee to grow. 

At first, Jaelee doesn’t think much of Alistair, or who she refers to as “Mr. Man Bun,” which I thought was pretty funny, since I feel the same way about a man bun. I’m not always a fan. At one point, she reflects inwardly: “People have layers to them,” and Alistair proves that there is much more to him than the man bun. And the six pack abs. And the sexy Scottish accent. Jaelee still isn’t sure that she’s ready to let her guard down with any man, and he’s got his own baggage to carry, too, which added an interesting mix to their budding unknown relationship status–are they friends? Potentially more than friends? In the end, Jaelee needs to decide what she wants to do–not only within her relationships, but going forward within her personal and professional life, and whether Bali (or Alistair) will play a part in those future plans. I really had a lot of fun reading A Sunrise Over Bali, the perfect warm weather (to get us through this winter) five-star read!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveler and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. 

Sandy lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins. 

The series continues in That Night in Paris and A Sunset in Sydney. The next two books in the Holiday Romance series will be out in 2022, followed by The May Ladies’ Christmas, a follow-up to The Christmas Swap, the standalone novel that celebrates her favourite time of the year.

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1 comment:

Sandy said...

Thank you for this lovely, thoughtful review, and for being on the tour. I am so glad the book resonated with you. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts.