Thursday, July 17, 2014

Aloha to Erin Duffy and ON THE ROCKS - Book Review


During the Avon Krewe Book Signing at the RT Boolovers' Convention (link), I picked up a copy of Erin Duffy's ON THE ROCKS: 

A heartwarming novel about friendship, family, and finding love in the Facebook Age-the perils, pitfalls, and dubious pleasures of being a modern young single woman—from Erin Duffy, the author of Bond Girl

Six months ago, Abby's life fell apart for all the world to see. Her longtime boyfriend-turned-fianc√©, Ben, unceremoniously dumped her—on Facebook—while she was trying on dresses for the big day.

When the usual remedies—pints of Ben & Jerry's, sweatpants, and a comfy couch—fail to work their magic, her best friend, Grace, devises a plan to get Abby back on her game. She and Abby are going to spend the summer in Newport, in a quaint cottage by the sea, enjoying cool breezes, cocktails, and a crowd of gorgeous men.

But no matter how far away they go, Abby and Grace discover that in the era of social media—when everyone is preserving every little detail of their lives online—there is no real escape. Dating has never been easy. But now that the rules are more blurred than ever, how will they find true love? And even if they do, can romance stand a chance when a girl's every word and move can go viral with a single click?

If there is a heaven for me, I am sure it has a beach attached to it. ~ Jimmy Buffett.

My first assignment in the Air Force took me to Hanscom AFB in the Boston suburbs.  I was invited by a group of single women to rent a house in Newport for the summer - each weekend brought a new adventure in beach shopping and bar hopping.   Perhaps we were lucky that we did not have cell phones or social media as we just relied on our wits.

Unfortunately, social media spoils Abby's shopping expedition for bridal gowns in ON THE ROCKS.  Just as she is trying on dresses, her fiance changed his status on Facebook to single.   Six months later, Abby is invited (actually blackmailed) by her BFF, Grace, to spend the summer in Newport.  Grace hopes the change in scenery will bring Abby back to life.  

ON THE ROCK offers a formulaic plot of Abby and Grace meeting new friends, overcoming challenges in their love lives, and leaving Newport with a new perspective.   Duffy's twist is the impact of social media on interpersonal relationship.  Their two friends - Bobby and Wolf - teach Abby and Grace how to navigate the dating scene with social media.  In fact, Bobby explains to Abby how guys use Facebook to "research" girls they meet at bars to determine who warrants a call back. Wolf's presence on the net is a surprise in the plot ... but one that delivers a ethical message about about "know all, tell all".

Duffy tells the story through Abby's first person perspective.   At times, Abby dwells too long on the broken engagement while still texting her ex-fiance.   Grace employs a no-nonsense attitude with Abby's love life but fails in her own.  Bobby and Wolf add comedic relief although they, too, can be dragged down by Abby's negativity.   Despite these flaws, Duffy kept my attention to the end when the gang is ready to return to real life at the end of summer.   

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Have you visited Newport, RI, or any other beach town?  

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, July 19, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 20.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Learn more about Erin and her books at



  1. No have not, love Venice beach

  2. There are some incredibly beautiful beach towns in Australia.

  3. Cape May New Jersey is a great beach town.

  4. I have been to Newport. It is beautiful. My favorite beaches are the outer banks of North Carolina.

  5. The only beach I've been to is Redondo Beach in California. That's the town I grew up in. While I like beaches and beach towns I don't really like the water and there's always so many people there.

  6. I grew up in "The Great North East". It has been many years ago, but I used to love the Jersey shore. Wildwood, Atlantic City, Avalon, Ocean City, and Cape May to name a few. I have lived in South Florida since the late 60's and have so many favorite beaches down here. Fort Lauderdale was my first exposure to the Florida coast and since them I have been to so many of the beaches from Key West on up. I love the water and feel relaxed and free while there!

  7. I live smack dab in the middle of the US so "resort" beach towns sound heavenly to me!!!! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. I've not been to New England but have been to some in Jersey and Florida.

  9. Haven't been to Newport, but have been to Ocean City, Myrtle Beach, Atlantic City, and Port Aransas, and probably a few others. Used to love relaxing on a beach!

  10. I live in a beach town (San Diego), but just got back from a road trip that took us up the CA coast. We drove along the coast through many small town beach towns which was a lot of fun. I would love to visit Newport!

  11. Haven't been to Newport but I would totally do a road trip along the coast and visit those beach towns.

  12. I have been to Newport and loved it. Also, Santa Barbara and Cape May, NJ.

  13. Never been to Newport, I'll have to add it to my "must-visit" list!

  14. I've never been but I've always wanted to visit there and all along the east coast to check out the light houses there and learn the history of the places! Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. I've visited Newport, RI. My dad was a navy man and my older sister was actually born in Rhode Island. I also live about 20 minutes from Lake Michigan and the beach towns along it.

    Marcy Shuler