Note: This ARC was provided by InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.
“It’s true. Nothing gives me the right to take anything you don’t want to give. But if you let me—if you take a chance and trust what we had on a beach thousands of miles and a handful of days ago—you don’t have to be afraid.”Arms crossing, I took a step back with a frown. “I’m not afraid.” Then I took a deep breath. I’m not.
I've only read two of Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion's novels--both in their ongoing Unbreakable series--but that's all it took, with the first, Heartbreaker, making me an admirer and the second one, Rule Breaker, clinching my fangirl status. This second in the series gives readers a love story with layers of complexities and complications that would have probably brought a weaker pair of main characters to their knees, but the beautifully formidable couple that is Mason Price and Leilani Kealoha are inspiring in their quest for love, adventure, and home and they find each other and themselves in the process as well as finding true meaning in their lives. This may have Romeo and Juliet-esque undertones, but it is so much more than a forbidden romance. Mase and Lani's story is about race and tolerance and the lack of it, and how, if we really take a closer, longer look, we have more similarities than we do differences and when put together, we're all the better for it. Racism and intolerance are presented a realistic manner, because whether we want to admit it or not, it exists even among those who share the same nationality.
Leilani Kealoha was tasked by her older brother to get surfer Mason Price to agree to a sponsorship deal with their boards. It may have taken longer than a moment, but Mase is intrigued by the bronze beauty who is as feisty as she is gorgeous. He agrees, not just to the sponsorship but to actually heading to Hawaii in exchange for Leilani agreeing to be his assistant while he's there. It'll be an opportunity to meet with Leilani's brother and to experience surfing on the legendary waves among the various beaches, not to mention spend time with the his new assistant--the nineteen-year-old he now calls "Lani". As drawn as she may be to the twentysomething surfer, the long-instilled reminder that she cannot be with a "haole"--an outsider--holds her back. But Mase is more than a momentary blip in her life. He brings that adventuresome spirit within her back to life and her heart already knows that it beats in sync with his. But with prejudice and their families and society trying to keep them apart, will these modern-day star-crossed lovers find their happy ending on the surf and sand among intolerant people?
I can't help but reiterate how much more this book is than a love story. It's about culture, diversity, race, history, the environment, family, and society. There is nothing simple about Lani and Mase's story, but that's what makes it such a damn intoxicating read. It doesn't just set itself apart from the series starter but it sets itself apart from a host of other books that have been released with a similar theme, whether recently or further back in time. Kat and Stone Bastion have given us a novel that makes us feel and think, a rarity amidst a lot of the escapism we find in fiction nowadays. It's set in such a picturesque place, a US state that's on my list of must-see places to visit, but behind its beauty is a certain kind of ugliness that is hiding in plain sight, just like the calmness of the ocean water can hide the sharp rocks and corals or riptides. But we can also choose to look at Mase and Lani's story and see that amidst all that harshness of reality lies a truly inspiring tale of love and perseverance and how being honest with oneself brings us closer to attaining what we seek most. Rule Breaker is a five-plus-starred must-read favorite. ♥
Read my reviews for the Unbreakable series:
Heartbreaker (book one) - five stars - My Review
Rule Breaker (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 07 November 2016
Date Read: 07 November 2016
Learn more about Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion.