Review: Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis

Cutie pie Pru learns to be very independent when her parents die in a car accident. She single handedly makes reparations to all those affected in the accident… and then she realizes she’s crushing on one – namely, Finn. 

I love the names Pru and Finn, and all the other character names too. They totally fit in to the “Melrose Place” type of setting and made this a very fun story to read. I wasn’t totally invested in the crew though, much like the Melrose Place television show! I’m hoping that with such an awesome cast of characters, this initial book in the series was serving as an introduction to the ensemble, as well as telling Pru and Finn’s story. If Shalvis can give me more of Elle’s and Sean’s snappy wit, and some more complex sub-plots, this series will be a winner. 

I’ll tell you what I absolutely enjoyed: Pru and Finn’s dates, the old guy by the fountain, the dumbwaiter, Finn’s ever-developing relationship with his brother, sweet Jake’s concern for Pru, and especially the way these friends always, ALWAYS, have each other’s backs. 

-calliope

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Review: Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis 

  
I never thought I’d love a Jill Shalvis series other than my First Jill Shalvis Series, Lucky Harbor. But I am falling in love all over again. Maybe it’s Cedar Ridge itself – sort of reminds me of Robyn Carr’s town of Virgin River, or maybe it’s the Kincaid brothers, but either way Shalvis has me hooked. 

In Nobody But You, military guy Jacob Kincaid returns home to his estranged twin brother and several other siblings (who are happier to see him than his twin pretends to be). Jacob didn’t realize there was more waiting for him in Cedar Ridge: one spit-fire Sophie Marren, recently divorced from her cheating ex-husband and living in a boat illegally moored at, yup, Jacob’s dock. 

Nobody But You reads total Shalvis: authentic and witty dialogue, lots of affection and competition among siblings, and great views. What sets this story apart from her others is the spice factor. Shalvis describes a lot more bedroom activity than usual, though not a gratuitous sentence in the bunch. Every kiss and caress reflects the passion Sophie and Jacob develop for each other, because of and despite misunderstandings and heartfelt fears of commitment. 

The only question I had at the end was Who’s Next to fall in love in Cedar Ridge now that the Kincaid brothers are taken? 😉 

-calliope 

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Review: Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

 
Aidan and Lily are risk-takers – with anything except their hearts. So when Lily returns to Cedar Ridge for a job and heart-healing, she finds herself more likely to climb rock faces than to kiss Aiden. In the spirit of sexy, contemporary romance, Aiden gives Lily her space while he falls in love with her. And of course she can read it all over his face … and starts to fall hard. 

I love these Kincaid brothers! They pull some pretty dumb moves, but they work hard and love hard. Watching brothers and friends look out for each other in matters of life, death, and love really touched me. Shalvis writes a realistic but exciting adventure that left me breathless. Or maybe I was left breathless from the sizzle between Aiden and Lily… 

Check it out! Release date: June 30. 

-calliope

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Review: One in a Million (Lucky Harbor #12) by Jill Shalvis

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One in a Million is the tale of Callie and Tanner. I’m going to tell you why I’m so in love with Tanner and EVERY Lucky Harbor character I’ve ever read.

Jill Shalvis has a way of making Lucky Harbor heroes ultra-alpha with a big dose of sensitivity and adorableness. It’s a talent. A skill. A miracle even. The men have muscles and brains and businesses and big hearts and deep souls. They are perfect.

Even though Tanner is clueless or selfish or begrudging at times, he still wants what’s best for Callie… And he wants Callie. Sigh. I live for watching the guy want the girl. He’s all meeting her for coffee and bringing her doughnuts and remembering that she gave him a Valentine in high school. See? Perfection.

And Callie. Well, she doesn’t believe in love. In her wedding planning business, she has seen too many brides focus on the wedding rather than the marriage. When Callie realizes she has loved Tanner for a long, long time, she puts up her defenses, leaving Tanner wondering.

She finally caves, of course. There’s a meeting of the minds and a heart-to-heart. And grandma Lucille? She makes sure this one in a million love story is happily ever after #12. 🙂

-calliope

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Review: He’s So Fine (Lucky Harbor #11) by Jill Shalvis

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I said it for book #10, and I’ll say it again. I love Lucky Harbor, and Shalvis writes the best alpha men ever.

He’s So Fine tells the story of Olivia (not her real name, but hopefully no one finds out) and Cole (like McGuyver, but more sensitive and nosy and muscly and alpha).

They don’t mean to hit it off, but the electricity between them is just too much to resist. When they finally knock down some emotional walls, they might even start a real relationship… If it weren’t for Cole’s inability to trust, and Olivia’s inability to share the truth. You see how that might cause some problems!

What impressed me was that Shalvis made Cole and Olivia’s character flaws a platform for comic relief, a wonderful use of wit that endeared me to the couple instead of being annoyed with them. The two pretty much save each other from themselves, and enjoy a terrific Lucky Harbor happily ever after. Sigh. Those never get old.

One of the mainstays of the Lucky Harbor series is Lucille, resident blue-haired busybody. In this particular book, Shalvis introduces us to Olivia’s friend Callie, Lucille’s granddaughter. That introduction has got me veddy veddy interested in what might be coming up ahead in Book 12. I can’t wait!

-Calliope
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Review: It’s In His Kiss (Lucky Harbor #10) by Jill Shalvis

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I love Lucky Harbor. The women are tough cookies even though they cry and glare and let a good kiss redeem bad behavior (well, not SO bad). Shalvis writes the best alpha men ever, EVER, and they are all different. How can there be so many smart, cocky, sensitive, charming, muscled men in one town? And all with distinct personalities and quirks and talents? I do not know, but I like it.

It’s in His Kiss is WONDERFUL. Becca moves to Lucky Harbor to get away from her wacky family, and she meets Sam. They ogle each other and work together at Sam’s boat chartering business for a while, until Becca realizes Lucky Harbor has avenues for her to use her musical talents. Meanwhile, they fall a little bit in love. And of course there’s a misunderstanding and a happily ever after.

That’s my kind of book: Relatable, likable characters; quick, smart dialogue; a forward-moving plot; characters who display authentic humor and poignant friendships; and a satisfying romance. And Shalvis further proves her writing talent by writing a series where each book can be read standing alone, yet if you read them together you enjoy nuggets of recognition and common threads. Just perfect.

I stayed up late to read this. I stayed up late to read #11. And I’ll stay up late to read #12. I can’t get enough of Lucky Harbor. 🌊☀️☔️😎💏

The subsequent books in the series will be released in September and October.

-Calliope
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Review (Take 2): Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

20140225-151742.jpg Fly me to Lucky Harbor, home of strong women with loyal friendships, gossipy old Lucille, and quiet alpha men! This installment finds troubled Aubrey making amends to the people she’s wronged, and strong silent Ben finally ready to fall in love again.

I always enjoy Shalvis’ romantic tales. But I also appreciate Aubrey’s friendship with the women who own shops adjoining hers. How fun to be a fly on the wall while the girls eat cupcakes and dish about their lives!

I also enjoy the recurring character Lucille. She’s one of the threads that gives the Lucky Harbor series continuity, and her gossip is good-hearted and harmless.

Shalvis focused a bit on children’s welfare in this novel, and she did it realistically. Shalvis shows the difference between men who shirk their parental duties (sometimes unknowingly), and men who are nurturing and raise their children well.

Lucky Harbor is a must-read for me. I’m invested in the characters, the shops, the relationships and the romances. Thanks, Miss Jill, for yet another happily ever after.

–Calliope

Just Released!
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Review: Bare Essentials by Jill Shalvis and Leslie Kelly

20140222-230439.jpg Bare Essentials is two 2002 novellas put together under one cover. The first one — Naughty but Nice by Jill Shalvis — is about Cassie, much-maligned daughter of the town vixen. Cassie returns to her hometown to start a racy “women’s shop” to spite all the gossips. I loved that she was up for fun with Tag, the new sheriff, while keeping her heart safe. Shalvis wrote some very steamy scenes here, running the gamut from a fling-y diversion all the way to making love because Cassie was falling in love. The plot is simple, the secondary characters pretty flat, and the sex toy conversations a little over the top, but the romance won me over. I rooted for Cassie and Tag all the way to the happily ever after.

The second novella — Naturally Naughty by Leslie Kelly — parallels Cassie’s story but tells it from Kate’s point of view. Because again the secondary characters play such small roles, there is no repetition or redundancy. The story seems new, with a touch of familiarity. The flirting and the sex are graphic and steamy, matching Kate’s outspokenness and sense of fun. Kate and Jack were happy living the single life… until they found each other. They enjoyed each other’s, ahem, company so much that they didn’t even realize they were falling in love. While I found it hard to relate to Kate, and her friendships with the other female characters were awkward, I enjoyed watching her grow as she learned about her family history.

Shalvis and Kelly did a bang-up job writing novellas from the viewpoints of two best friends. They succeeded in creating sexy romances with strong female characters. And with the help of hot heroes, they let Cassie and Kate develop from sullen victims of hometown gossip to women who had something to contribute to Pleasantville. The girls finally realize that how they thought the people of Pleasantville perceived them was really only how they had perceived themselves.

–Calliope

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Blog Tour and Giveaway: Once in a Lifetime, by Jill Shalvis

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SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT
After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he’s back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she’s not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben – even though he has absolutely no idea what she’s done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

Can I tell you how much I love Lucky Harbor?? I seriously do. I wish I could live in a place like that. Small towns appeal to me. I want to know EVERYBODY!!! Plus, all those hot guys would be a nice perk. But I’m getting sidetracked here….

Ben and Aubrey bicker every time they see each other. They just don’t like each other. But love likes to strike those who least expect it. And these two most definitely do NOT expect it.

Ben was hired, by Aubrey’s uncle, to help her remodel the bookstore she is trying to get back on it’s feet. She doesn’t want his help, but she can’t stop him. She doesn’t want him around, because she keeps having these crazy feelings for him. And Ben finds more ways to be around her, and he has no idea why. He doesn’t want a relationship, especially not with someone like her.

Aubrey feels unloved. She always felt that way. Listening to her remember her past, broke my heart. She as seriously misunderstood and wrongly accused for a lot of things. But she wasn’t an angel either. So, as she tries to make amends with those she wronged, she feels more guilt over Ben than anyone. But he has no idea why.

On a side note, watching Ben interact and react to Pink and her sister….total swoon. I fell in love even more. I mean seriously, who couldn’t?? And when he brought them in for cookies…*sigh*

As they grow closer, and their relationship, or whatever it is, grows more and more saucy, I was sitting at the edge of my seat wondering when the other show was gonna drop. But when it dropped, and she told him her secret, I never saw it coming. I felt horrible, for both of them!! I wanted to reach in a hug them both.

Can the past stay in the past and not effect your future??

Excerpt
“You’re incredible, Ben, you know that? You’re an insensitive, first-class jerk, and–”
He leaned in. “And what?” he asked, voice dangerously low.
“And…” Stymied at her ridiculous and constant reaction to him, Aubrey put her hands to his chest to give him another shove, but somehow got her wires crossed and she fisted his shirt instead.
“Dare me,” he said softly.
Oh, how she hated how well he knew her. “I dare you to kiss me,” she whispered, and then to make sure he did, she put her mouth on his first…

I seriously can’t wait til the next one!!

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Once-in-a-Lifetime-Blog-Tour

Review: Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis

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I’m usually a little wary of reading from an author’s backlist. Sometimes their earlier works aren’t up to par with the later ones, and I don’t like to be disappointed. Well, have no fear with this November 2013 e-release of a 2005 paperback. Every bit reflected the same witty, romantic and fun Jill Shalvis I’ve been reading in recent years.

I loved that Mia was a driven, ambitious, self-made career woman. I loved that she made her own destiny. And I totally respected the fact that she had to build up emotional walls to do it. What better foil to her neighbor Kevin, a sensitive, caring guy who just wants to help everyone live up to their full -professional and emotional- potential.

I liked that Kevin nudged Mia to make their relationship more honest and authentic. I liked seeing the push and pull of their emotions. Kevin was a catalyst in Mia’s emotional growth, and even better, a catalyst in Mia’s niece Hope’s adolescent development.

Her Sexiest Mistake is a love story that starts off hot, cools down a little, and then gets emotional. With strong, sensitive Kevin and wounded-but-won’t-be-a-victim Mia, the reader gets all the uncertainties of a new romance AND the happiest of happy-ever-afters.

–Calliope

Buy it now Her Sexiest Mistake