Wendy and Dana review ‘Joshua’s Rainbow’ (Rainbow Key Book One) by Victoria Sue. Self Published February 20, 2018, 232 pages.
Rainbow Key – an idyllic island retreat off the west coast of Florida. Think wedding destination, white sandy beaches, lurve… except at the moment Joshua is struggling to pay the electricity bill, they’ve no paying customers, and even if they did they can’t afford the repairs from the devastating hurricane that struck three years ago – and to top it off they have to take in Daniel, a grumpy businessman who has been ordered by his doctor to take some time off before he has a heart attack from too much stress.
Funnily enough, Daniel owns a very expensive hotel chain that has been trying to buy the island for the past two years. Not that Joshua knows that yet, and boy are sparks gonna fly when he thinks he’s been set up.
Of course, sparks of a different kind are also soon flying between them.
Then there’s Matt who just got let out of prison, Charlie who ran away from home, and Ben, a famous model until a devastating house fire destroyed his face.
Welcome to Rainbow Key – held together by love, family, and sticky tape.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided to the reviewers in exchange for an honest review.
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Congratulations Victoria Sue on the release of ‘Joshua’s Rainbow’.
This author is an auto-buy for me. I love her angsty shifter and enhanced human stories as well as her historical romances. They are full of adventure and intrigue, suspense and fast paced stories that keep me on the edge of my seat. She doesn’t disappoint with this contemporary.
I love the first book in a series. It sets the whole tone of what to expect from the rest and if we’re lucky, it’s done without giving all the secondary characters that may have their own stories away. There is always the challenge of world building too. I think that’s what caught me from the start of this book. The island life on the Florida Keys was set up perfectly. I felt relaxed and could picture myself on the island reading a book on the sandy beach or having some of Joshua’s wonderful cooking and enjoying the slower pace that comes with the island lifestyle. And I have a new appreciation for all that goes on behind the scenes at a hotel like this to make the relaxing and slower pace possible. I was pulled in by the effort the characters put into trying to make the hotel a success even when it looked grim, they never gave up. I loved that! I loved the backstory to how the mismatched and damaged bunch came to be a family together and it was nice to see the love and respect they each had for one another.
Daniel desperately needs the lifestyle that this place offers. He does that ‘always on the fastest setting’ that in one way is a great way to achieve your dreams and become successful and in Daniel’s case very wealthy. But it needs to be tempered with knowing when to slow down and enjoy the rewards of all that hard work. That’s the part that Daniel didn’t do and he paid for it. His best friend and doctor sends him to Rainbow Key to relax and de-stress before he has an even bigger (possibly life threatening) health problem. He goes into this vacation with the wrong attitude, thinking that he can use this opportunity to get the lay of the land and learn what he needs to finally be able to buy the island for his chain of hotels. It doesn’t take long before all that kind of falls away even without his being aware of it. Much like falling in love, it just kind of sneaks up on you, and he’s jumping right in to help save the hotel without letting Joshua find out who he is and falling hard for the younger man.
Joshua is one of my new favorite characters. He’s beautifully broken (like the others that live and work at the hotel). He manages the hotel and island with only minimal knowledge of what it takes to actually run such a large operation, he’s young, but that doesn’t stop him from giving everything he’s got plus some he doesn’t to make a business work and create a home for his band of misfits because he has a huge heart. Did I mention he’s broken? Yeah, he had a rough start (or would it be middle?) and he’s afraid to give his heart to anyone because all his self esteem has been bullied out of him and worse. So it isn’t an easy journey for him and Daniel even though they are wildly attracted to each other. It feels like two wounded animals feeling each other out before learning to trust. Both Joshua and Daniel have secrets that they keep from each other and like the blurb says… the sparks fly when they come out.
The secondary characters… Oh man… In true Victoria Sue fashion, these people are so damaged that I wonder if they might be beyond repair? She gives me just the tiniest bit of hope for them, but I know it’s going to be hard on my heart and all the feels are going to come out when I learn their stories. I can’t wait!
I am a fan of Victoria Sue’s. I have listened to several audiobooks that she wrote because it’s usually easier for me to get through my never ending TBR by listening and reading. When I found out we were being offered Joshua’s Rainbow, I read the blurb. I was surprised because it’s different from what I am used to from the author. However, I really like the character building and the still relatable storylines in her paranormal books so I definitely wanted to see what she would do with something contemporary.
I’m going to start with Josh, the owner of Rainbow Key. He was easy to care for. I found that I could really relate to this character, personally. No, I wasn’t kicked out of my house because I’m gay and I never found myself having to make the choices he did in order to survive. He is his own worst critic though, and I know how that is. He sees himself as heavy, and it’s almost all he sees about himself. Sometimes I feel that way. I know it’s not just me that also judges themselves harshly. I believe that so many of us do for different reasons, and he is someone that most readers can probably really empathize with. His heart is amazing though, and he takes the opportunity he was given to improve his life to help others in the same boat.
Daniel is hard to love at first. He is a business man who has worked himself to exhaustion and anxiety attacks. When he gets the opportunity to unwind at the quiet island and resort of Rainbow Key he can’t stop a himself from analyzing the property and what he could do with it to make it more commercially successful. He does come to care for Joshua pretty quickly and wants to help him with his troubles as well as the people Joshua has collected and given a home. I found myself liking him more and more as the story went on. He is used to wheeling and dealing and has confidence Josh lacks, but there are a few doubts that plague him, including the age difference between him and the object of his affection.
There is a really sweet romance here. I love angst, so the fear both characters feel at trusting each other and accepting love pulled at my heartstrings. The secondary characters were very interesting. Matt, Ben, and Charlie are mentioned in the blurb and it made me wonder if their stories were going to play out in the background of this book. They don’t, but the three men are important figures at Rainbow Key, and there is definitely much more to be said about them. I hope that they will get their own stories in this series, because they are broken. Some a little more than others. I want to know about them for sure. I also want to see how Rainbow Key is after all the changes made at the end of the book. In a way, the peaceful island is a character, too.
For me, this was promising start to a new series. I love the location and the characters.I would definitely recommend Joshua’s Rainbow, especially if you are in the mood for a solid sweet romance with no cliffhangers.
Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but when she ran out of library books she decided to write her own. Loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—especially with a paranormal twist—but always with a happy ending. Is an English northern lass currently serving twenty to life in Florida—unfortunately, she spends more time chained to her computer than on a beach.
Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.