• Ashley Christiano

Beach Reads Book Review 1: It’s Just Business by Summer Dowell



In It’s Just Business, Summer Dowell reminds us that sometimes we get so set on a goal or dream that we lose sight of what’s important in the present moment. We set aside our values and relationships to make our dreams come true. But aren’t our values what is most important to who we are? And don’t relationships add color and joy to our lives? This fluffy RomCom is patently silly, and it was pretty hard to find any deeper meaning within it. But if that’s what you’re looking for in this chaotic world, then dive right in!


Haley has always dreamed of owning her own floral shop, and her dream finally seems within reach. Until one act of underhanded business dealings wipes that away and she sets out to get her revenge. She’ll take that gorgeous Austin down if it’s the last thing she does. But also, maybe accidentally go on a date or two with him. Austin wants to manage his own restaurant one day, and isn’t above getting a leg up from a friend of his dad’s…and stealing Haley’s dream space right out from under her, setting off an increasingly strange set of circumstances that make him feel like he’s either going crazy or totally cursed.


Little does he know that Haley and her friends are plotting to destroy his grand opening. From flooding the restaurant to sabotaging an appliance order, clogging the toilets to letting mice loose in the space the day the health inspectors are set to arrive, Haley and her friends find ways big and small to mess with Austin. But in between the escalating pranks and sabotage, Haley and Austin keep hanging out and…falling in love. Of course, neither comes clean about their part in Haley’s failed flower shop and Austin’s cursed restaurant opening.


Until it’s too late.


What I liked about this book was how goofy it was. The pranks were ridiculous and the escalation well-paced. The writer had a lot of very specific and believable details interspersed throughout the book that made Haley’s job as a florist and Austin’s job as a real estate developer feel authentic and believable.

Where I felt the book didn’t succeed, however, was with the side characters. They were mostly two-dimensional and served no real purpose other than to be Haley’s sidekick or confidante. They didn’t have their own motives, values, or arcs in any way. They felt like a device that the writer used to have backstory-heavy dialogue to help give the reader some context for why Haley was the way she was. And that felt clunky and boring to read.

It’s Just Business by Summer Dowell is a guilty pleasure kind of RomCom that is a fast read for a day at the beach. While the writing won’t blow anybody away and the characters are far from original, it is fun and flirty. It’s a cute piece of brain candy. Crunch away!

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