Review: Provoke by Rachel Van Dyken (Seaside Pictures #3.7)


Note: An advanced reader copy (ARC) was provided by Evil Eye Concepts, Inc. via InkSlinger PR.

Rachel Van Dyken takes readers back to the small Oregon town of Seaside with the newest novella in her Seaside Pictures series. Published as part of the 1001 Dark Nights collection, Provoke is the story of twenty-four-year-old Braden Connor, who went from a YouTube sensation to a bona fide superstar singer and songwriter. This is his dream come true, but when an act of violence brings harm to his fans and himself, Braden finds himself fearful of getting back on stage. That fear puts the world tour he’s a part of at risk, leaving Braden’s friends desperate for him to snap out of his funk. This is where twenty-six-year-old life coach Piper Rayne comes in. She’s good at what she does, but she only has three weeks to ensure that Braden is ready to go on tour and back onstage. Maybe some provocation is called for…but what happens when that leads to temptation—the kind that could cost Piper the job that means so much to her and Braden the girl who may have started his life coach but has quickly become his beautiful lifesaver?

I love revisiting Rachel Van Dyken’s fictional town of Seaside because it does serve as more than a backdrop in the lives of the recurring cast of characters. It is, indeed, a character itself, especially with how much of a component it is in the life-changing moments of these famous individuals who consider Seaside their true home away from home. Braden and Piper’s story may be short in length, but strangely enough, it almost felt as if were much longer. However, everything between them does take place over a number of days, and I liked that there was a bit of wariness on both their ends when they first meet. I was actually unsure of Piper in the beginning, mainly because her approach towards Braden’s case felt somewhat clinical and impersonal. She did, though, win me over when she finally let loose, and Braden was someone who I easily empathized with from the start, so seeing the two of them develop into more was truly sweet and heartwarming. Four stars for Provoke, and all the stars for that song Braden wrote! ♥

Date Read: 10 April 2020

Learn more about Rachel Van Dyken.

Purchase Provoke on Amazon.

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