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review 2017-06-25 21:00
Thoughts: It Had to Be You
It Had to Be You - Jill Shalvis

It Had to Be You
by Jill Shalvis
Book 7 of Lucky Harbor

I'm pretty sure that I called it quite accurately in my BLopoly update post, when I said that I would probably end up finishing this whole book within the day.  Jill Shalvis is an author I'm constantly returning to for a multitude of reasons, one being that sometimes, when I love her books and her characters, I really DO love her books and her characters.

I had started reading It Had to Be You with every intention of stopping after the first handful of chapters, then either switching back to another read I'd started right before, or just going to sleep.  It didn't take long for me to realize that I wasn't putting this book down.

Except maybe for bacon (which did happen, and I regret nothing).

The Story:
Ali Winters had arrived in Lucky Harbor to try to start a whole new life for herself.  Having grown up on the wrong side of the tracks, with a childhood of rotating homes each time her mother found a new boyfriend, she had wanted to prove to herself that she could make something of herself.  With a talent for floral design and ceramics, she's been working at a local florist shop, with hopes that one day she'd be able to really let her talents shine.

All within the time span of one day, however, she finds her boyfriend cheating on her, and then learns that she's just been kicked out of her home without prior notice.  Then, to make matters worse, fifty thousand dollars worth of fundraiser money that was supposed to be used to build a new community center disappears, and somehow, Ali is the main suspect when her cheating ex-boyfriend leads the police straight for her.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Detective Luke Hanover had returned to Lucky Harbor for a quiet, solo vacation away from the stress of a failed investigation that had resulted in what he feels was a tragic, preventable death, if only he'd been able to put away a crazy killer.  But he never expected to find a madwoman in his grandmother's home, cursing into her cell phone to her ex about his failure to inform her she would soon be homeless, while stalking around in nothing but a set of panties and bra.

Needless to say, Luke's plans of quiet, isolationism gets blown to pieces when he finds he cannot keep from involving himself investigating the missing charity money, fully believing Ali to be innocent of any crime.  In fact, he just keeps telling himself that he won't get involved, but somehow, he can't help but become sucked into Ali's world, while at the same time letting her into his, for the better.

My Thoughts:
There was just something about Ali's character that I really, really loved.  Despite the fact that she's constantly swishing back and forth from doormat, to fiery independent, she's just got one of those personalities, so laden in down-to-earth realism, that you can't help but admire her ability to keep bouncing back.  And admire, I do, because for all the crap that happens to her throughout the book, you'd think she'd eventually find a point of no return and simply stop feeling so optimistic.

Except that even her optimism is lined with a realistic sense of acceptance.  Kind of alike a "I'm going to keep looking on the bright side, but if everything drops to hell... well, not much I can do about that but keep moving forward."  Her personality is hard to grasp, but I suspect that that's her appeal.

In contrast, Luke's personality is steeped in fatalism for himself, and hopeful optimism for others.  Even as he's doing what he can to help other people, especially Ali, he seems to come to the conclusion that his life is fated to be miserable, and anyone who is with him will also be miserable.  That eventually, he'll start to fail all the people around him, and his life will be crowded with disappointment.

It's depressing... except that his outlook doesn't stop him from continuing to help others in need.

On a side note, I also found Luke to be one of the more endearing, broody alpha males in fiction.  Even though his plans for a quiet, isolated vacation got dashed to pieces with Ali's presence, he'll still eat her omelets and other baked goods that come his way, even while continually pouting about his ruined vacation time.  And why do I find it especially cute that it's so easy to bribe him with food, specifically baked goods?

The number of times that scenes involving Luke and food were the few times I actually chuckled out loud while reading this book.

Ali had had a crappy day.  Leah had tried to get her to go out tonight but she wasn't in the mood.  Instead, she was in the kitchen licking brownie batter from a wooden spoon like her life depended on it when Luke wandered into the kitchen.

"I smell chocolate," he said, looking hopeful.




And in spite of the weather, the mountain chickadees were still out singing in force, "cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger," sounding like The Chipmunks on crack.

It made him hungry.

Do chickadees really sound like that?

Anyway, between Ali and Luke, I found that I really enjoyed reading It Had to Be You.  There were even a few moments loaded with feels.  The development of their relationship was subtle, but sweet, and while it was strange that they continued to live together even as perfect strangers, in a way, it worked.

But that is one of the reasons that I like a lot of Jill Shalvis's work, is because of the quick friendships, and the strong bonds presented.  Character interactions are warm and fluffy, even if sometimes the characters are strange and hard to comprehend.

We meet a lot of new people in this installment of the series, probably as a set up for the next few books to come.  And while I like seeing character interaction and love the strongly bonded friendships, some of the introductions were honestly, maybe a little awkward, or forced.  But if you gloss over those, the rest of the book is pretty great.

I love that Ali has a great relationship with her mother and sister.  I love that Ali's mother is protective and loving of her girls--that, as opposed to some other, darker books with characters of similar background, Ali's mother is one who will beat up the men who even dare look at her daughters the wrong way, rather than turn a blind eye in order to keep a man.

And you don't see a whole lot of it, but I also like seeing the camaraderie between Luke and his friends, and even some of the townsfolk of Lucky Harbor.  I appreciate that Luke and Zach learn to work together, both for Ali's sake, even in spite of the pissing contest they have going on.

I like that the townspeople don't immediately condemn Ali, even though they believe that she DID steal the charity money; wanting to find a peaceful, happy solution and help her stay out of jail.  I mean, it's still a bit insulting that they would believe her a criminal despite how well they know her.  Although I'm sure their hearts were in the right places.

There were a few loose ends I would have liked to see tied up, however, most especially the one involving Ali's ex-boyfriend, the shameless, rat-fink bastard, Ted Marshall.  Even at the conclusion, his character just kind of fades away into the background, but it didn't escape my notice that really nothing happens to him, nor is anything addressed concerning him, even though all of the conflict was mainly all because of him.


Free Friday #2:

Page Count:  327
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $97.00





Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/thoughts-it-had-to-be-you.html
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text 2017-06-25 11:00
COYER Summer Reading List | June Readathon!
COYER is a reading challenge hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading, Berls @ Fantasy is more fun, and Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My!
COYER stands for "Clean out your e-reads."  And typically the goal is to read from all the freebies or low priced books you've collected in the past on your e-readers.

But for this summer duration of June 17th to September 8th, our hosts are throwing out the normal rules!

Click on this link to sign up or read about COYER Summer 2017.
My COYER Summer Reading List summary page.

For those of us participating in the Summer Reading List part of this summer's COYER Challenge, our hosts have announced three different readathons for each month of the challenge:


  • Read-a-thon Dates are
    • June 25th – July 2nd ~ read only ebooks
    • July 23rd to July 30th ~ read only physical books
    • August 20th to August 27th ~ read only audio and ebooks

So today kicks off the first COYER readathon this summer!

For this week of June 25th through to July 2nd, we are to read only e-books, and only e-books from our pre-made lists as well.

Of course, as a person who is a pretty big mood reader (and also with other reading challenges still going on), I obviously am not going to be restricting myself to only the e-books on my Summer Reading List.  But I will definitely try.

I'm simply going to make sure that I only count the books that I read, the e-books, from my Summer Reading List, towards this readathon, and obviously towards COYER Challenge.

Below is my finalized, official Reading List.  And if I happen to finish up to five books in this week, I suppose I'll add to it with five more to read!



Ani's COYER Summer Reading List

See Also: COYER Summer Reading List @ GR


  1. Going Rogue by Robin Benway
  2. Secret Agent Secretary by Melissa Cutler
  3. Hot on the Hunt by Melissa Cutler
  4. Behind the Scenes by Natalie J. Damschroder
  5. Secrets by Cynthia Eden
  6. Suspicions by Cynthia Eden
  7. The Manhattan Encounter by Addison Fox
  8. Hot Mess by Lynn Raye Harris
  9. Hot Package by Lynn Raye Harris
  10. SEAL's Honor by Elle James
  11. On the Loose by Tara Janzen
  12. Cutting Loose by Tara Janzen
  13. The Mysterious Twin by Leona Karr -- 6/23/2017
  14. Cold Memory by Leslie A. Kelly
  15. Pushing the Lines by Kimberly Kincaid
  16. Skin Deep by Kimberly Kincaid
  17. Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh
  18. Night Diver by Elizabeth Lowell
  19. The First Victim by J.B. Lynn
  20. Thicker Than Water by Maggie Shayne
  21. The Littlest Cowboy by Maggie Shayne
  22. The Law of Attraction by N.M. Silber
  23. Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler
  24. Heat Wave anthology - Stephanie Bond, Heidi Betts, Leslie Kelly
  25. That's Amore anthology - Janelle Denison, Tori Carrington, Leslie Kelly
  26. Bare Essentials duo-story anthology - Jill Shalvis, Leslie Kelly
  27. Night Driving by Lori Wilde
  28. Smooth Sailing by Lori Wilde
  29. Crash Landing by Lori Wilde
  30. Part Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Well... Happy Reading, everyone!!



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/coyer-summer-reading-list-june-readathon.html
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text 2017-06-25 04:29
Read-a-thon: 24 in 48! July 2017 | Ani's Plans!

So here is the basic gist of this read-a-thon as copied from the 24 in 48 Readathon site:


Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.

After checking my weekend rotation schedule, it looks like I will be off the weekend that this July 2017 24in48 Readathon is to take place!  The thon will be July 22nd and 23rd, and well, look at that!  We're still cruising along with Booklikes-opoly as well!

I'm not entirely sure what books I will be reading for the thon, as, for some reason, I decided to do an early announcement this time.  The past two thons I had always forgotten about them until about a week or two prior to the readathon weekend, so I usually had an idea of what I'd like to read.

But being that BLopoly is sort of dictating my reads for the most part, I'm just going to wing it this time and just create a simple goal to at least finish one and a half to two books.  Why such a funky goal?  Because I typically only end up finishing two books, if the past two 24in48s I participated in are any indication... but usually at least one of those books I had already started reading prior to the thon.

And to top it off, I will also usually start read at least one or two more books... for whatever reason.

Though, I will admit that lately, I haven't really been reading too many books simultaneously.


If I were to make a list of all the books I hope to read, or a list of possible books I would like to be able to read, it would look a little like this:


It's pretty much wide open, my possible choices, and those aren't even all the books I glanced over within the past week and thought: "Hmm, I want to read this next."  So... I think I probably shouldn't speculate on what I'm planning on reading...  Because I want to read ALL THE BOOKS!  But I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen in 48 hours of time, barring time loops and time freezes, or magical speed reading glasses...

Ooh, or time turners!


How many times are we turning this thing, Hermione?  I need at least six or seven (hundred) of these 48 hour thon weekends to complete ALL THE BOOKS.  And remember, NO ONE is sleeping until we're done!

Let's go!




Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/read-thon-24-in-48-july-2017-anis-plans.html
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text 2017-06-25 03:02
Booklikes-opoly | Roll #21!
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform


Between my Roll #20 on 6/22 and Free Friday #2 on 6/23, I've kept busy with reading.  Although, truthfully, no one is as surprised as I am at how quickly I finished reading all of these books.  I had expected at least another day before I could roll again.  Though to be fair, the two Harlequin books, while not really that enjoyable, were bite-sized and easy to read.

Also, it didn't truly sink in until I started reading The Substitute Sister that I chose two Harlequin Intrigues that have twins in the main role.  I mean, I knew both books involved the MC being a twin sister, but I had a strange flash of surprise reading the first few pages of The Substitute Sister with a "Oh, this book is about twins, too!" moment... even though I already knew that.  -_-

Reviews will be forthcoming soon within the next few days.

For now, here are my activities from the most recent roll:


  • Roll #20.1:  Rolled a double 5 = 10, and landed on Luxury Tax.
    • Read The Mysterious Twin for 256 pages = $6.00, increasing bank to $103.00.
    • The Mysterious Twin has a character who is a millionaire/billionaire.




  • Roll #20.2:  Rolled a 9 and landed on Water Works.
    • Read The Substitute Sister for 240 pages = $6.00, increasing bank to $109.00.
    • The Substitute Sister's book cover has water in the illustration.


In addition to the two books from my twentieth BLopoly roll, I had chosen It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis for my Free Friday Book on 6/23--chosen and started on Friday... and finished on the exact same day because it was fabulous, and addictive, and fun, and... also I don't seem to have much respect for how necessary sleep seems to be.  I finished my Free Friday Read and brought my Bank Balance to $97.00 before making myself proceed into the two books for my 20th BLopoly turn.

With the completion of these three books, my Bank Balance comes to a whopping $109.00!

Now onto the next roll!  Roll #21:


From Water Works, I moved 7 spaces and landed on The Monorail.


Magnetic Monkey: "Did somebody say MORE CARTWHEELS!"

Peek-a-Boo Penni: "Yay!"


I landed on The Monorail sometime at the beginning of the game, and to be honest, the only squares I dread, maybe as equally as the Tomorrowland square, would be the railway station ones.  Because, once again, I've got close to nothing sorted out for these squares, especially the Tomorrowland Station which wants a book about time travel.  Yikes!

Still, of the four railway station squares, The Monorail really is the one with the most possible books listed from my TBR... so far.  I finally got tired of listing book possibilities when I got to these four.

Long story short, some books are just a little hard to determine whether there is travel by air, or what city the book takes place in so I can run a Google search on whether or not said city has a subway system.  And I even toyed with the idea of buying an extra roll and moving onto a more ideal square...

Fortunately, turns out I've got a great book option, which will also double to help me finish up a book series!


The Manhattan Encounter by Addison Fox, is the fourth and final installment in the House of Steele series that I started reading this year in 2017.  At first, I'd been saving this book to read for the Electric Company square, because the heroine is a scientist.  But after convincing myself that there are plenty of other books I've got chosen for Electric Company anyway, I decided that I'd be more productive, and enjoy myself more, if I just finished this book series and moved onto the next one.

After all, I've got a pretty big goal this year, and those books aren't going to read themselves!

The Manhattan Encounter, as the title states, takes place in Manhattan, NY, and apparently has several subway stations that are part of the New York City Subway!  The book is 283 pages, which will be worth $6.00, bringing my Bank Balance to $115.00 upon finished reading.

Current Bank:   $109.00



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/booklikes-opoly-roll-21.html
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review 2017-06-23 07:56
Very Brief Thoughts: To the Rescue
To the Rescue - Jean Barrett

To the Rescue
by Jean Barrett



With a Mystery Mounting, A Medieval Fantasy was Fast Becoming All Too Real for an Unlikely Pair

Leo McKenzie was an American investigator tracking a hard-to-find woman through the English countryside.  But trailing antiques agent Jennifer Rowan through an impassable blizzard only amounted to a concussion and a developing cold crush.

After finding haven for the detective in a centuries-old monastery, Jenny sought a silent monk who had the answer to recovering the priceless Warley Madonna.  But when someone else got him to spill his guts first - literally - everyone stranded in the castle became a suspect.  The two reckless Americans made an imperfect match - and with eyes the color of whiskey, the headstrong P.I. was dangerously close to intoxicating Jennifer.  But with only each other to trust, the two strangers in an even stranger land would have to stop a killer who stalked the frozen hallways if they hoped to weather the storm.

As I had stated in my BLopoly update post for Roll #20, To the Rescue was enjoyable as a mystery, but the romance left much to be desired.  The writing was extremely heavy on the romance, which, no surprise there as this is a Harlequin romance and so, what did I expect, right?  But in another sense, the writing was also smooth and progressive, easy to read.  The mystery was a typical outline of a locked room murder mystery, though the killer wasn't a surprise upon reveal at the end.

Nevertheless, if I could change anything about this book, it would be the development of the romance.  Honestly, our main couple is trapped in a big, creepy monastery with strangers who are also trapped, and an entire order of monks.  There has been two murders, two attempts on our MCs lives, a stolen historical relic is part of the equation... and all Leo or Jennifer can think of is how attractive each other is, and continue to lust after each other non-stop.

There is a time and place for groping and sexy times.  While an unknown killer is running amok of a trapped, isolated castle is probably not the time to be constantly thinking about being touchy feely.

And then the insta-love kind of sprung up out of nowhere as well.

Everything else about this murder mystery was enjoyable, maybe with a few flaws here and there.  Really, it was just the romance that didn't do it for me.  And truthfully, neither of the main characters were that interesting either.  Nor were the side characters.




Roll #19:
Book is set in England.

Page Count:  292
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $91.00












Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/very-brief-thoughts-to-rescue.html
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