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Cruel Summer #3

Summer Nights

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The final installment in Marlo and Ray's story of revenge, love and the thin line between hate and passion. They'll fight to the bitter end.

And now that everyone's counting on them.
They're ready for the final curtain call.
Break a leg... right?


First published September 27, 2018

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About the author

Rachel Van Dyken

155 books17.9k followers
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances.

Hey guys I'm rarely on Goodreads, if you need to reach me feel free to email!
EMAIL ME: rachelvandykenauthor@gmail.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-...

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5 stars
410 (40%)
4 stars
313 (31%)
3 stars
210 (20%)
2 stars
54 (5%)
1 star
17 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 140 reviews
September 20, 2019
Lawn boy grows up and gets the not so spoiled princess

Terrific ending to the series. I was wondering how much more could actually happen in this story after the Book 2. However there was quite a bit that went on in this one. Like the last book, the supporting characters were a laugh riot. Especially Jackson and Brax. They both are utterly ridiculous and wonderful. I would love nothing better than to hang out at summer camp with them. They would continually crack me up with their antics and jokes.

Marlon would make a perfect boyfriend, he has deep feelings for Ray and just wants to take care of her and be with her. Who wouldn’t want to be in a relationship like that? The background setting of a summer camp, especially one where they are putting on a dramatic production is so much fun. All the descriptions made me so nostalgic for summer camp especially at the older ages when I wanted to just hang out with the guys and that one special guy I was crushing on.

The book wrapped up in a nice way though I didn’t really like the epilogue. I didn’t think it was necessary. Luckily it was really short. Overall though, the book was great. I recommend the entire series.
Profile Image for Dali.
1,745 reviews433 followers
September 30, 2018
Rachel Van Dyken concludes her Cruel Summer trilogy with Summer Nights, a story of hate, love and redemption.
“I hate her. I love her,” I admitted. “I want to strangle her then kiss her senseless, it’s a problem.”

Marlo and Ray’s epic love story continues right where Summer Seduction left off, with a terrifying accident that threatens delicate relationship between them.

I really can’t say much about this book’s plot without giving the entire thing away, but I can mostly definitely talk about the supporting characters, who I hope to get to know better in the future. They were more than funny and endearing, they were pivotal in helping along Ray and Marlo’s relationship. I also enjoyed the dance scenes which should have been difficult to describe, but RVD pulls off vivid and steamy page turning dance sequences.

RVD’s writing is engaging and full of deep desire, both physical and emotional. Beyond the intense chemistry and heady moments, the novel strips Marlo and Ray bare, forcing them to analyze their past and themselves in order to be able to fully commit their present and future to one another. It was both moving and absolutely swoony.
“I will be your last Ray, your only, your forever, and I will wait that long if I have to. We have time, so be my friend today, so you can be my forever tomorrow.”

I had been eagerly anticipating this last installment. RVD’s story gripped me from start to finish while I devoured everything from the emotional twists and turns to the happy ending I had been waiting for. I LOVED this entire series so hard!

Summer Nights is book #3 of the Cruel Summer trilogy by Rachel Van Dyken. It is the perfect end to Marlo and Ray’s love story. Told from both points of view with a happy ending.

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via Social Butterfly. I am voluntarily reviewing this title. *

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Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
7,510 reviews16 followers
September 25, 2018
Summer Nights by Rachel Van Dyken is book Three in the Cruel Summer series. This continues the story of Marlo and Ray, so you should read the previous books to full enjoy this one. This book picks up where the last one ended.
Marlo and Ray are still dealing with their feelings of hate, hurt and love after starting to fully understand what happened with them. Working through the old pain and the new pain that was caused between the two. But love always wins out and I enjoyed reading how their love played out.
I am a fan of Ms. Van Dyken writing and this series just proved again why I love her writing...great series.
Profile Image for Meegz Reads.
1,331 reviews103 followers
September 29, 2018
*4 Stars*

ARC kindly received in exchange for an honest review.

Summer Nights rounds out this explosive trilogy from RVD, and whilst I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it as much as the first two. That being said though, I guess the first two books are these really big build ups, and the cliff hangers were insane, so at some point it had to tone down and even out a bit.

We pick up the story right where we left off, at that damned horrible cliffhanger from book 2. Once we move past that, things roll on quite nicely, and we discover even more about Ray and Marlo and their past.

Whilst getting to know them, we also get to know a little bit more about the other camp staff and I really would like to see books about those guys as well.

I found there wasn’t so much angst in this one, and as with the others it was a really fast and easy read. Marlo and Ray are much more in sync and maybe a little bit more mature at times in this book as well.

It’s a nice way to finish off their story, and the ending was absolute perfection for these two characters.

Review also on my blog - Summer Nights - Rachel Van Dyken

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Profile Image for G.
731 reviews16 followers
October 9, 2018
Então... eles acabam sempre transando e há uma repetitividade nos diálogos deles que tiraram um pouco o brilho da trilogia para mim. No geral foi bom? Foi. Poderia ter sido melhor? Indubitavelmente.
Profile Image for Kat's Books & Brews.
530 reviews43 followers
September 24, 2018

PERFECT CONCLUSION TO AN EPIC SUMMER ROMANCE! I was so excited and anxious to be reading book three in the Cruel Summer series. Both Summer Heat and Summer Seduction had left me needing more! I was hooked from the start.

“I hate her. I love her,” I admitted. “I want to strangle her then kiss her senseless, it’s a problem”

The cliffy from Summer Seduction had me reeling! Picking up Summer Nights ,I was able to breathe again picking up where book two left off. These two just put me through the ringer. Marlo and Ray are like to fire and ice and it just hurts so good. Their past has always been their biggest issue, but people change and they both REALLY CHANGED.

“I’m not done! I’m pissed! I’m terrified! I love you! I don’t love people, Marlo! I didn’t even have a pet to love! I have you! I need to always have you don’t you get it? You can’t just bare your soul, ask me to bare mine, and then leave me broken! You can’t! You. Are. Mine”

Without giving away too much, I think this was exactly how Marlo and Ray’s story needed to play out. I loved every second on it. The whole crew was perfect, Jen, Jackson, and Brax. They’re all so funny. Besides being funny, it was also emotional. Some parts had my heart was in my throat. Emotions flowing off the page and smacking me in the face.

“I swore to you then I would be your first — and somehow I was able to follow through… Right?”
“Right,” she whispered.
“Great, then hear me now… I will be your last Ray, your only, your forever, and I will wait that long if I have to. We have time, so be my friend today, so you can be my forever tomorrow.” I held out my hand”

Swoon!!! I melted when Marlo realized that Ray was broken, so he helped her heal. He slowly put her back together. Marlo was also broken, he was branded by his past, but he was able to pull himself out. My heart couldn’t take it. The whole series was amazing. Perfect ending for this super summer series.

“So, I’m gonna look back, because even though the past is dark and riddled with pain — my sunlight was you.
I hate you.
I love you.
I need you.
Always yours,
Your lawn boy.
Marlo B.”

Profile Image for Liz.
3,294 reviews54 followers
September 27, 2018
The final installment to the Cruel Summer series by Rachel Van Dyken is here! After the ending in book two, I could not wait to get my hands on this book and I loved every part of it! This book continues Marlo and Ray’s story and should not be read prior to the first two books in the series.

With so much bad history between them, could Marlo and Ray ever move forward? Two people shaped by their past and choices, could they be what the other needs to heal or is it already too late? The push and pull between them continues as their chemistry continues to go strong, as is their love/hate relationship.

I absolutely loved not only Summer Nights but this entire series. It was an emotional journey and so worth reading. I am a huge fan of Rachel Van Dyken and her stories because her writing and characters are very likable and engaging. This series is a must read and I hope to see more from the summer camp crew!

4.5 stars. Read and reviewed for Sultry Sirens Book Blog.

Happy reading!
Profile Image for Lynsey A.
1,740 reviews
September 3, 2019
This was my least favorite of this series. It just felt off in the story. I was all confused about the "I hate you. I love you." Their relationship was just weird. I don't know. I was just a bit ambivalent about this story, about this series.

I would give this series about 3 stars total. The books were entertaining but still felt a bit juvenile. I thought the cruelty would be a bit more cruel. Just I liked the books but I've read better RVD books. Then again, I've read worse. (Evil eye at Elect)
Profile Image for Kara Hildebrand (Two Book Pushers).
1,612 reviews141 followers
September 24, 2018
Summer Nights is the third and final book in the Cruel Summer series by the incredibly talented Rachel Van Dyken. I have read almost all of her books and I have to say this series is one of my favorites of hers and that's saying something because you know, Mafia. Summer Nights picks up where Summer Seduction left off and I finally stopped giving Rachel the side eye. Marlo and Ray are struggling with the love/hate relationship they've been holding onto for so long. They have to decide what is real and what is imagined and they need to separate the past from the present. I am so glad I was along for the ride. It was magical and beautiful to watch. The push and pull. The lust and anger. The holding on and letting go. It was an emotional journey for Marlo and Ray and I could hardly contain my laughter and tears as I read the series. Overall, I loved every word. I love these characters and I'm hoping there's more to come from the secondary ones!

He was mine.
I wasn't giving him back.
To anyone.

"I hate her. I love her." I admitted. "I want to strangle her then kiss her senseless, it's a problem."

I wanted to reach my hands into her body, to set loose her soul, I wanted her heart, I just wanted her to fly.
Profile Image for Sandra Shipman ~ Two Book Pushers.
1,840 reviews44 followers
September 24, 2018
Summer Nights is the third and final installment in Rachel’s Cruel Summer series. It can not be read as standalone. You need to start from the very beginning. I can’t really say much about the story so I will make this fast.

It starts exactly where Summer Seduction ended. Yep, that’s all you get. Lol

I will say that this one had me in tears! It’s more emotional. More raw. More passion fueled. More everything. I not only fell for Marlo and Ray but the rest of the characters too. I ❤️ Jackson! I really do.

Overall...it gave me all the feels!! It’s a fast read that with a lot of story.


“Should I ride in on a lawnmower next time?”
“Will you have theme music?”
“I’m confused. Is there any other way?”

“Don’t listen to the noise, all you need is me, feel me.”

“And a gentleman never backs away from a bet.” Jackson held her close.”

💋Excerpt From
Summer Nights
Rachel Van Dyken
This material may be protected by copyright.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,530 reviews40 followers
September 27, 2018
I have been awaiting the third and final installment of Cruel Summer. I couldn't wait to find out what happened to Ray and Marlo and if they would finally be able to love and fully trust each other. There are a few emotional moments as Ray delves into events that shape her past, but overall I found it to be on the lighthearted side. I adored the secondary characters and would love to see more Jackson. This is the steamiest book I've read from RVD, so be prepared for plenty of hotness.

If you're looking for an entertaining, love/hate storyline with Dirty Dancing vibes, this is one to check out. I would definitely sign up to attend this summer camp.

Thank you to RVD for my advanced review copy.
Profile Image for BookSmackedMel.
911 reviews337 followers
September 26, 2018
I absolutely loved loved loved this trilogy. Rachel Van Dyken had my heart racing with this romance.

Marlo and Ray’s story was exhilarating, she took the ever iconic romance Dirty Dancing and put her spin on it. Paying tribute to the film that I’ve seen countless times in such a way that had me giddy

Book 2 left me absolutely reeling and I dove head first into Summer Nights with my heart in my throat. This enemies to lovers romance is full of chemistry, emotion and laughs.

Yup I even fell in love with the supporting cast and am secretly praying that one day we get to see their stories.

Summer Nights is a romance that will have you buzzing!!

If you haven’t read these books, you definitely should.
Profile Image for Jackie Wright.
4,097 reviews74 followers
September 24, 2018
Book 3 and the final instalment in Rachel Van Dyken’s Cruel Summer Series and what a perfect end to a brilliant trilogy. This book started right right where book 2 finished and I was so excited to get the conclusion to a series I had fallen in love with and boy oh boy did I get everything I wanted and more, so much more. Words are hard to find to try and do this book justice and not give the story away so all I’m going to say is this is a book that had my emotions all over the place, at times it’s funny at times it’s sweet at times it’s sizzling hot and at times it’s damn right cruel but it’s up there amongst my top reads of 2018 so please do yourself a favour and one click this must read trilogy because this is a series that has all the feels and yes you do need to reads books 1 and 2 before starting the final instalment. Loved it !!!!!!!
Profile Image for Bibliophile  Chloe .
1,103 reviews97 followers
September 25, 2018
Cruel Summer Book 3

What a beautiful ending to a beautiful series.  How I wished I would have lucky enough to go to this summer camp. You can feel the music, see the musical.  It was brilliant!

Marlo and Ray...they fought their way from hate to love. 

Ray learned to love herself again.  She learned that she was worthy of love.  She was able to climb out of the guilt that wasn't hers to carry.

Marlo just wanted to be everything for Ray.  He learned how to just "be" with her.  As friends and as lovers. 

As with the first two books in this, the secondary characters are hysterically funny and bring such a breath of fresh air to the angst in the story!

Loved this series! Get your hands on it! Re-live summertime with this series!

2,335 reviews11 followers
September 26, 2018
Rcvd an ARC at no cost to author...I couldn't wait for this book, I had my heart in my throat when I started reading...The emotions that were finally dealt with and put to rest. Redemption finally happened for Ray, poor girl went thru a lot..But then we have Marlo, lordy lordy just what she needed...Love conquers.../Enjoy!
Profile Image for CDBW.
1,618 reviews76 followers
September 23, 2018
5 Crazy Ass Must Read Stars!!!!!

Gah! This series had me all over the place.
We picked up right where Summer Seduction left off and let me tell you, the tears were rolling right away.
There were lots of laughs too and steamy times as well.
Ugh! It seems like everything I want to say about this book ends up being a spoiler. I must have hit delete a bajillion times. I’m just going to leave you with this...
I highly recommend this series. It’s funny, sweet, frustrating, and a whole lot sexy.
Profile Image for Casey.
214 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2018
This book brings back memories of high school both good and bad. It makes you regret the cutting remarks to a classmate or the cutting remarks you received.

I enjoyed the perspective this story is told from. It is about redemption and acceptance. Things we all need at some point in our lives.
Profile Image for Crystal.
Author 68 books423 followers
September 21, 2018
Beautiful. Simply beautiful and so special. Ray and Marlo’s journey was one I cherished, and this emotional rollercoaster had the perfect ending with this last book. Just, yeah...
Profile Image for Romance Schmomance (Malia) .
1,186 reviews98 followers
August 28, 2019

You've made it to the end! And of course, Rachel sticks to the trend with this series and gave us another cliffhanger in  Summer Seduction . I'd say that everything settles down a bit with the conclusion and I don't think Rachel could have written this any differently. I thought  Summer Nights was the perfect kind of conclusion.

Of course, everything is holding strong with Marlo and Ray. After working through their pasts and dealing with what's right in front of them, they're definitely on the same page about everything. Naturally they still have their moments, but no relationship is perfect.


May 12, 2022
Menudo final. Y menudo comienzo también, que casi me tenía comiéndome las uñas del estrés emocional que me estaba causando.

Esta tercera entrega nos llega cargadas de escenas impresionantes y, más importante, la liberación de Ray. Tuvimos unas pinceladas de cómo realmente fue su vida junto a sus padres, y por fin conocemos lo que realmente pasó. Ella se abre y habla de la pérdida más grande que tuvo en su vida y que fue el origen del distanciamiento y rechazo de sus padres hacia ella.

Marlon también deja todo su odio y rencor (o tal vez no) y la ayuda, esta vez sin ser egoísta y tiene paciencia suficiente como para, primero, ser amigo de Ray y, cuando ella esté lista, darle todo de él.

be my friend today, so you can be my forever tomorrow.

Paralelamente, tenemos la historia de Jen y Jackson que, aunque no la haya mencionado antes en anteriores reseñas de esta saga,  porque no la veía demasiado relevante en el trascurso de la trama principal, pero que es otra historia que nos da diferentes puntos de vista. Conocemos un poco del pasado de Jackson, pero no mucho de Jen, que tengo que decir que sus padres son maravillosos, todo lo contrario que los padres de Ray, como descubriremos a lo largo de este tercer libro.
Profile Image for NICUnurse Stephanie .
668 reviews16 followers
September 27, 2018
Summer Nights is book three of Rachel Van Dyken’s Summer Heat series (exclusive to iBooks). These books are NOT standalone books, so reader be aware!

Ray grew up rich and was a part of the popular crowd in high school. She seemingly had it all. Marlo grew up in the foster system but was lucky enough to end up with a foster mom who loved him dearly. However, they were the hired help for Ray’s family.

Friends when they were younger, Ray shunned Marlo in high school and took part in his bullying at the worst, and turned a blind eye to his harassment at the least. Then she stole his scholarship–¬¬his one-way ticket out of the life he grew up in–and sealed their relationship mired in hatred.

Now, he’s the director at a prestigious summer camp for rising stars and she’s…just the help. When lines are crossed and truths are revealed, will they be able to overcome their past, or will it seal their relationship as enemies?

Summer Nights picks up with the fire and explosion in one of the cabins for the campers. Which is the point at where everyone wanted to throw their iPads in frustration at the end of book two. Obviously things turn out all right since book three has more than 5 pages to it! And the push and pull, love and hate, back and forth between Ray and Marlo continues. More secrets come to light as Ray has to work through her own doubts and fears and learn to love her self, all while polishing the play that is showcased for industry reps and insiders at the end of the summer. The gang’s all back…and so are the hijinks and shenanigans!

NICUnurse’s Rating: As a child of the 80’s, there were so many elements that I loved about this book (and series). For many years, I dreamed of becoming a professional dancer. As a young girl, I binged on Fame and watched movies like Flashdance and Dirty Dancing over and over again, dreaming that one day that would be me. Spoiler alert: I became a nurse instead. Anywho…my point is that this book brought back so many great memories. Then tossed in the whole Can’t Buy Me Love feel as a bonus. And the push/pull, love/hate, rich/poor storyline would most definitely make John Hughes proud!

Just like the first two books, I was up entirely too late finishing this book because I couldn’t stop reading! I give this book (and the entire series) 4.5 stars. Fans of angsty new adult contemporary romance (with all the expected humor we’ve come to love with Rachel Van Dyken), this is definitely a series you’ll want to grab right now!
Profile Image for Melanie Cesa.
830 reviews29 followers
October 15, 2018
I really enjoyed all of the characters in this series. They are all just wonderful and such a great group of friends. Their friendship is heartwarming, and I hope we get to see more of them.

The writing is engaging and the story filled with tenderness. My heart hurt, I smiled, and I swooned as I watched Marlo and Ray work through the pain of the past to help them move forward with their future.

Marlo and Ray are beautiful! You can feel the chemistry. I loved watching Ray let go and how Marlo was there for her, helping her, guiding her, loving her, being everything she needs. A beautiful story of acceptance and love.

“You’ve never hidden yourself, I’m not sure you’re even capable of it. When I see your eyes, I know everything’s going to be okay, because I see your love.”
Profile Image for HeatherP.
1,041 reviews25 followers
September 27, 2018
"I will be your last Ray, your only, your forever, and I will wait that long if I have to. We have time, so be my friend today, so you can be my forever tomorrow."

This series (trilogy?) was so much more than I bargained for. I knew it would make me swoon, make me laugh, and possibly make me cry. I wasn't prepared for it to take over all of my thoughts and leave me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book to pop up in my email. I dropped everything each and every time I was sent the next one. 

I loved watching Marlo and Ray work through their past and to help each other grow.

I loved following in love with their friends. 

I loved the way Dirty Dancing played into the story. 

Anyone who enjoys enemies to lovers, 2nd chance romance, young adult, and a bit of angst will want to grab these books. I've never loved my iPad more than when I found of these were on iBooks only. I was relieved I was able to get them. Flawless & Un-put-downable! 

ARC in exchange for honest review

Ray walked up to me and grabbed my hand. "Does the lawn boy need saving from the rich spoiled princess?"
I smirked. "Yeah I think he does."
"Good." She nudged me. "Because I've always wanted to save you - maybe even more than you wanted to save me."
I frowned. "What makes you think I needed saving?"
"The look in your eyes every day I didn't do it." she said softly.
Profile Image for Romance Readers Retreat.
2,346 reviews213 followers
September 27, 2018
This is the third and final instalment in Rachel Van Dykens Cruel Summer series exclusively on ibooks, and it's one of those series you really won't want to end.

It picks up where it was left on that massive cliffhanger at the end of book 2 and us readers were left chewing our nails off. I need to watch how I write this review because it could disclose a massive spoiler so I'm not going into the plot, nope not at all so I will keep it short.

Anyway lets just say that I think Rachel Van Dyken has really upped the anti when it comes to those sizzling bedroom scenes, it was really steamy. The chemistry Marlon and Ray have with each other is magnetic and extremely magical, my only downfall is that I never wanted it to end. Their individual stories will break your heart but the characters themselves will heal you and put you back together again. You might need lots of tissues for this series but by the end I promise you will have loved every minute.

Now I know this is an ibooks exclusive series but I am really hoping Rachel Van Dyken will consider extending it and give one of the side characters Jackson his own story because I swear that boy has had his heart broken at some point.
Profile Image for Sherry.
589 reviews32 followers
September 26, 2018
If you've spent the Summer reading this 3-part series then you are going to be so glad your wait is over for Summer Nights! We finally find out what happened after the end of Summer Seduction. Did anyone else yell at the screen when reading that final scene? Don't fret - Summer Nights picks up right where Summer Seduction ends. I don't want to give you anything that could be considered a spoiler, so I will tell you this: Rachel Van Dyken isn't done with summer camp in this final installment. She still has us on the edge of our seat, laughing, gasping, and OMG, those sex scenes. ;)

I enjoyed this installment and the entire 3-part series, the cast of characters are believable and easy to relate to. They are funny, they are hurt, they are sometimes overcome with emotion, but they are REAL.  The peripheral characters shine and the story could easily be made into a movie. I'd love to see these different personalities come to life on screen.

Another wonderful read by Rachel Van Dyken. RVD doesn't disappoint with Marlo and Ray's story and I cannot wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

5 Summer Stars
Profile Image for Shelee at Book Reader Chronicles.
866 reviews23 followers
September 28, 2018
**3.5 Stars**

The conclusion to this series was as fast-paced as the rest. Summer Nights began where Summer Seduction left off, and became the real fairytale aspect of the story while tying all loose ends. The snark and humor remained along with the turbulent romance between the leads, and a bit more with the secondary characters than what was expected. With a second installment that really knocked me off my feet, I had wanted Summer Nights to carry in the same vein, but it did feel a bit different, a bit more shallow when it came to delving into the characters and the events that'd happened to and between them. That lessened my enjoyment a bit, but it didn't keep me from wanting to know how their story ended (or finally began, really). This was a fun, New Adult read that was easily consumed and enjoyed. I look forward to seeing if the secondary characters find their own books in the future. 

**Received an early copy; this had no bearing on my opinions**
Displaying 1 - 30 of 140 reviews

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