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review 2015-04-14 20:17
Still the One by Jill Shalvis has great characterization!
Still the One - Jill Shalvis

Author Jill Shalvis is masterful at taking flawed, damaged characters and making them loveable. Darcy is hard to love, or she tries to be, but AJ sees right through her gruff exterior and loves her anyway. This is their addictive story with a great catch-up on other characters in the series but it is easily read as a standalone.

 

Darcy Stone is recovering physically from an almost fatal car accident, but her mental status is yet to be determined. She believes she's not ready to love anyone, even if someone is brave enough to love her. Darcy saves her love for the service dogs she rescues and then gives them to whoever needs them most. She scrapes together the funds to buy these throw-away animals from the two jobs she works.

 

AJ Colten is the physical therapist who has pushed Darcy beyond reason in order to make her well and he's also now her boss at one of her jobs. It infuriates Darcy that she's so attracted to a man who hardly knows she's alive. Oh, he helps her with her physical recovery but her attitude keeps him far away emotionally, or so she thinks. AJ stays away from Darcy because it's the professional thing to do, not because he's not attracted to her. Quite the contrary, he can hardly keep his feelings to himself, but he'll never tell Darcy that because her brother Wyatt would kick him into tomorrow if AJ hurt his sister.

 

When AJ's patient, who was supposed to go with him to meet potential backers for his facility, cancels, he's pushed into asking Darcy to help him. Darcy feels obligated and intrigued when AJ offers to pay her money that she can use to buy more dogs, but when she finds out that AJ also did a lot of her therapy pro-bono, she's infuriated that she was never told about his gift. To get even with him, Darcy schmoozes the potential investors, a husband and wife team, into thinking that she and AJ are a couple.

 

Forced to pretend their love for one another, will they be able to convince themselves there is nothing between them when the sparks ignite?

 

Since the last book I read in this series was RESCUE MY HEART (book 3), I really didn't have any preconceived ideas about most of the characters when starting STILL THE ONE (book 6). I was also able to begin this book without the familiarity pretty easily. I did wonder about Wyatt and Emily quite a bit, but that's because I want to know their story, which was in the previous book, THEN CAME YOU (book 5).

 

I chose this book for review because I have an affinity for animal stories and I enjoyed RESCUE MY HEART so much that I wanted more. It met my expectations and amped up my craving to read more books in the series.

 

Darcy is one of the most interesting female characters I've read about in a long time. She's what made the book for me, but I wasn't impressed with her at first. Darcy has been through so much in her lifetime that she puts up barriers and pretends she doesn't care about anyone except her brother and sister. She's a hardass, plain and simple. Darcy has developed relationships so she's not a recluse and one of those relationships, which is thoroughly covered in this book, is with tattoo artist Xander, her best friend, but her hardened exterior seems off-putting at first.

 

By about chapter eight, I became acquainted with the crazy off-the-wall Darcy and that's when things really got interesting. Darcy is the kind of friend who can either sink or swim a relationship just with her antics. A lot of what she does is to protect her heart but she seems to damage it just as much by trying to protect it. She's one wild girl when she gets something in her mind and AJ is never quite sure what she'll do next. This proves to be very funny more than once. AJ loves Darcy and always has, but he doesn't intend to follow through on his feelings for her. She's off-the-wall wacky a lot, which he finds irresistible as much as she drives him crazy.

 

This book is worth reading just for the characterization of Darcy, even though so many of the other characters play a very important role in this novel. Xander and his brother are very intriguing so I hope we hear more about them in the future. Fans of the ANIMAL MAGNETISM series will enjoy cameo appearances of other characters from previous books with a lot of time devoted to Emily and Wyatt, especially Wyatt. Since the next book is about Zoe, Darcy's sister, she gets a lot of page time as well, setting up her upcoming story. We get to know these siblings' relationship with each other rather well in this book so I'm anxious to see it further explored in Zoe's book.

 

I've come to expect humor when reading Jill Shalvis' books and this novel is no exception. There are some laugh-out-loud funny moments in STILL THE ONE, the scene that made me laugh the hardest is the one with Darcy and a parrot. And let's not forget the cat who gets in on the humor. There's nothing super original about the scene itself but it's the magic of the characterization and Darcy's inner dialogue that makes the scene so funny. That's magic when an author can take something predictable and make it unpredictably funny. There is also heart-breaking sadness that is so worth reading. I sobbed like crazy toward the end of the book when emotions are running high and Darcy is faced with something she never expects. A truly beautiful chapter that will touch your heart and cement Darcy, as a character, forever into your memory.

 

For those who love animals, there are several scenarios with the service dogs Darcy rescues and then places with new owners. Those are great, emotional, loving moments that will tug at your heart.

 

AJ is the perfect hero for Darcy even though he has some issues to overcome as well. Their journey is sexy, funny and often heartrending, but that's what makes their relationship special.

 

I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book because I ended up loving it so much. I concluded with 4.5 because I felt Darcy's characterization was a bit off in the beginning, even though I can't put my finger on exactly why. She surprised me when she and AJ took off on their road trip, this made the book for me, so much so that by the last page I felt that overall I really loved this book. I think you need to read it yourself to see if we're in sync with our thoughts.

 

If you love quirky, damaged characters, laugh-out-loud moments, heart wrenching emotion plus family dynamics and friendships improved by hardship, then STILL THE ONE should be bought to read right away. While you're at it, you might want to pick up a few more books in the ANIMAL MAGNETISM series because you won't be able to read just one. Funny, crazy characters falling in love, what are you waiting for? Jill Shalvis writes keepers that you'll want to re-read.

 

Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of Romance Junkies and TBR Mountain Range.

Source: www.romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/contemporary/Still-the-One.shtml
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review 2013-11-01 22:31
Good Romantic Fun
Rumor Has It - Jill Shalvis

Rumor Has It is my first Jill Shalvis novel, and after reading it, all I can say is, "More, please!"

 

I seriously, seriously enjoyed this book. It's a light, sexy read with a perfect balance of humor and emotion, and it won me over so completely, I have already added all the other books in the series to my to-be-read list. Aaaaand I have added the first book in each of her other series too! Overkill? Maybe, but hey, what can I say? I know what I like, and I like Jill Shalvis' writing. A lot.

 

The story itself is about ex-soldier Griffin (Grif) Reid, who has been discharged from military service due to a combat injury. Grif's lucky to be alive, but lucky isn't what he's feeling when he returns to Sunshine. Despite its cheery name, this small Idaho town doesn't hold the best of memories for Grif. He doesn't want to be there, doesn't want to deal with his dad and their always-rocky relationship, and he sure as heck isn't looking for love. 

 

That is, until he literally bumps into Kate Evans, his little sister's best friend. 

 

Like Grif, Kate is looking for a way out of Sunshine. She's got one, too, courtesy of an elite graduate school program in another state that would take her away for an entire year and give her the chance to finally (finally!) do what she wants with her life. But Kate's got a dad and siblings to look after, students to help and teach, and what feels like a mile-long list of obligations, all of which conspire to keep her firmly tied to Sunshine. Being the care-taking soul that she is, Kate simply can't abandon the people who need her. 

 

Then Grif Reid - the guy she's been secretly crushing on for years - shows up, and suddenly, it's like a door in Kate's life has been blown open. The question is, is she brave enough to walk through it? 

 

The romance in Rumor Has It plays out beautifully. I loved that Kate took the initiative instead of playing the part of a shrinking violet, waiting for the guy to come to her. And Grif....yeah. Can you say wounded (but dead-sexy) warrior? Cue the sighs and swoons. 

 

I also thoroughly enjoyed Kate's best friend, Ryan. Total charmer. He's getting his own book, right? RIGHT?! 

 

So would I recommend Rumor Has It? YES! It is an engaging read and all-around good romantic fun. You can read it as a standalone, but do you really want to leave it all by its lonesome? Of course you don't. You want the entire series! (Trust me on this.) And while you're at it, check out Jill's other books too. She's written a TON of them and if they're anything like this one, you've got some great reading days ahead of you!

 

4 Stars ★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Source: www.thedemonlibrarian.com/2013/11/tour-stop-review-giveaway-author-q.html
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review 2013-09-10 00:00
Animal Attraction - Karen White,Jill Shalvis 3.5 Stars!! Very cute, but not as steamy as I typically like.
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review 2013-07-31 00:00
Animal Attraction (Animal Magnetism Series #2)
Animal Attraction - Jill Shalvis I was so excited when I picked up this book. A hot veterinarian, a fiesty office manager, and interaction with cute animals; how could I not enjoy this.Once again, Jill Shalvis worked her magic. This is the first book of hers that I have read that did not take place in Lucky Harbor and I have to admit, I may need a vacation home in Sunshine, Idaho. Especially if all of the male residents are like Dell Connelly. The sexual tension and chemistry between Dell and Jade was amazing and I found that the attraction they had for one another was completely believable. And I won't deny that Dell and Gertie made me swoon; nothing better than a guy who loves his dog!
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review 2013-07-06 00:00
Animal Magnetism (Animal Magnetism Series #1)
Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis It all starts with a chocolate covered doughnut, a doughnut fiend, and an abandoned dog.Brady, pilot and single to the end of time man finds himself stuck in this crazy town straddled with a crazy little dog named Twinkles. Yes, big tough man has a dog named Twinkles. Of course he thinks the dog is the devils spawn, it does have some really bad habits. It seemed cruel to laugh at his pain but I did anyway. He is there to help his two brother's out and leave asap and has serious commitment issues. Still Lilah, the dog rescuer manages to keep him off balance and attached to the evil little guy. She unbalances him in other ways too. Let's just say he is one lusty horn dog himself.Lilah, was raised in this town and runs her own rescue/kennel center. She is over worked, underpaid, and a bit distracted. Which might be why she ran into Brady's truck while driving with a pig, duck and other beasties in her jeep. That turned into a ride and a shared moment of doughnut chocolate covered lust. Lick your lips good feelings all around. She is friends, nearly family with his brothers and they are protective of their friend. She is a force of nature, she strives to be the savior and to do it alone. Yes, that does cause some trouble later in the story. The two go back and forth in a semi part time relationship he is only there for a month. But don't fear this author is great at HEA's.I really like this author. I have a couple feel good authors I like to go to when I need to lighten things and this is one. She writes about good people trying to do good things and not harm others. I finished the book feeling good, happy and smiling. Damn good work !
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