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review 2017-08-19 21:15
Brief Thoughts: One Snowy Night (novella)
One Snowy Night: A Heartbreaker Bay Christmas Novella - Jill Shalvis,Karen White

One Snowy Night
by Jill Shalvis
audio book narrated by Karen White
Heartbreaker Bay #2.5 (novella)

 

 

It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years.  Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl.

Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options.  She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too.  But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south.

They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.



One Snowy Night was a potentially sweet and fun little romance, with a road trip in snowy weather, and some thought-provoking ideas about forgiveness, change, growing up... the works.  Rory and Max were both nice characters, although they don't really stand out all that well.  Rory is the typical, down-on-her-luck girl, who has had a rough go of things, who is trying to get her life back together and make amends with her past.  Max is Standard Broody Alpha Male #1, who is also letting things in his past influence his decisions in present day.

To be honest, the conflict between Rory and Max was a rather legit, realistic issue.  The biggest problem that I kept seeing was that the two didn't know how to talk to each other.  Max is pissed at Rory for some reason, Rory has secrets she doesn't want to talk about.  And thus, it makes for a very lonely, and quiet car ride, when neither of the two want to talk at all about anything.

I got a little frustrated when Rory realized that something big was bugging Max that had to do with their high school years.  He didn't want to talk about it, and so Rory decided that she wouldn't ask him, despite the fact that she really wanted to find out why Max had a chip on his shoulder about her.  And thus, that carried on for a bit of time and made me roll my eyes.

Because, yes, let's just NOT talk about what the problem is and let it fester while the two of you drive for a few hours together in the wintry blizzard.

My feelings of relief was palpable when some nice old couple gave Rory the tip that she needed to look to the past to figure out how to fix her present.  I probably would have just told her that she just needed to learn to talk to Max, and vice versa, but I guess the old lady put it in a more worldly way.

Anyway, this is a cute little romance, probably not something I'd come back to.

Unless there's more of Carl, the big and goofy doberman to see; now HE was probably the best part of the book!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/brief-thoughts-one-snowy-night-novella.html
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review 2017-08-19 21:08
Quick Thoughts: The Trouble with Mistletoe
The Trouble with Mistletoe: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel - Jill Shalvis,Karen White

The Trouble with Mistletoe
by Jill Shalvis
audio book narrated by Karen White
Book 2 of Heartbreaker Bay

 

 

If she has her way . . .

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand.  He needs a kitty sitter, stat.  But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her . . .

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands.  But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him . . .

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice . . .

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again?  It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work . . .



If it's one thing I've come to understand, it's that Jill Shalvis books are charming even when you find them frustrating.

The Trouble with Mistletoe had an interesting premise to work from, however, you could readily tell that it wasn't something meant to be drawn out.  Keeping Keane in the dark about why Willa was always angry at him could have gotten out of hand, or it could have been an interesting twist; except that particular conflict was resolved quite early in the book that made me rather glad.  I figured it was kind of nice that Willa and Keane managed to take the adult way out and let the past go--after all, when you're young, you do stupid things that you might regret in the future.  And at least Keane was a good enough person to feel chagrined about being a jerk when he was a teenager.  And Willa was gracious enough to forgive and move on.

But then we come to a sort of "second half" of the contemporary romance... and things start getting frustrating.

To be honest, what I'd worried about for the first half, actually ended up happening in the second half of this romance.

Basically, there was a lot of wishy-washy, back-and-forth with these two, and it got to a point where I don't even know what either Keane or Willa wanted from each other.  I'm not even sure they knew what they wanted with each other, or themselves, or their own lives in general.  The same conflict kept getting dredged up in monologue about each other's inability to commit... or no, this is about the other person's inability to commit... but wait, it's about his/her own concerns about committing...

And it just kept going on like that:  "This is a very bad idea.  But let's have sex anyway."  "We're not doing this anymore... okay, maybe one more time.  But it's a bad idea."  "But you don't want attachments!"  "Wait, no, I guess it's me--I can't do attachments."  "But you said you don't get attached."

After the third time, it got old.

Meanwhile, I found myself also a bit frustrated with the side characters as well.  The last thing you ever want when you're going through a conflicting romance is for friends to be nosy, especially if they're also going to be nosy, interfering, disruptive, and unhelpful.  And while it might have seemed like a comedic insert for Willa's girl friends to be the nosy, interfering, disruptive, and unhelpful lot... it actually kind of got annoying.

Except for Rory.  I liked Rory--she was nosy, but she was also really sincere.  And Archer was pretty cool, too--he wasn't nosy, he wasn't interfering, and he wasn't disruptive; he wasn't really helpful either, but at least he offered to beat Keane up if Willa needed him to, no questions asked.  The rest of Willa's friends felt like they were there just for sheer entertainment.

Keane's staff was also a bit annoying as well.

And then, true to Jill Shalvis form, some tangential conflicts are introduced that are never properly resolved, such as Keane's relationship with his parents--you get a back story, you get frustration from him, you get a teaser... and that's it.

But as I'd stated before, as frustrating as this book got, it still managed to be charming somehow.  Keane's kitty-sitting adventure was certainly sweet and fun; Petunia was a typical Queen Cat, and totally makes you smile.  There's even a brief appearance of a small puppy with paws larger than his own head, and the scenes were super adorable.

This was a mediocre Jill Shalvis work, at best.  Still charming, but I can see where people may not enjoy it.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/quick-thoughts-trouble-with-mistletoe.html
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review 2017-08-17 02:56
Thoughts: Bare Essentials
Bare Essentials - Jill Shalvis,Leslie Kelly

Bare Essentials
-- Naughty But Nice by Jill Shalvis
-- Naturally Naughty by Leslie Kelly

 

 

Naughty But Nice

Lingerie model Cassie Tremaine Montgomery intends to have her revenge on the citizens of her hometown—starting with seducing the sheriff, Sean "Tag" Taggart. Tag, however, isn't cooperating.  He's more than willing to set the sheets on fire with her, but he's asking for more than just sizzling sex….  He knows Cassie's not as tough as she pretends.  And he knows she cares about him—even if she won't admit it.  So he'll just turn up the heat until she concedes there's more between them than this red-hot passion.

Naturally Naughty

Kate Jones, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, is home.  And she's got an agenda.  To get revenge on the man who humiliated her mother, Kate's going to seduce that man's son—the town's golden boy, John Winfield Jr.—and then leave him drooling in a puddle of lust.  However, when she finds herself seduced by a sexy stranger named Jack, little does she guess that the tables have just been turned….



Interesting premise with the adult women's store.  Standard premise of small town girls living a crappy life, wanting to get out and make something of themselves to show their town up.  The revenge story doesn't really build up all that well, and some of the revenge points aren't exactly resolved; however, in it's own way, that kind of creates a different story based on two women's need to take their revenge on a town that always treated them terribly.

Instead, we get a sweet set of stories with a love story and a journey to self-discovery.  Sort of.

 

 

Naughty But Nice

by Jill Shalvis
-- 3.5 Stars

Naughty But Nice is a typical Jill Shalvis type story--witty, fun, sexy... with just enough story for it to be enjoyable, and just enough drama for it to be thought-provoking, even while being a bit too angst-ridden for my liking.

Cassie is a great character, with all the sass and outrageous personality to make her stand out.  Unfortunately, Tag is a little boring, but he's at least not a broody alpha and makes for great boyfriend material.  The romance is sweet, but might have come off a little juvenile at times, and yet quite predictable as it was.  Cassie might have been a bit too stubborn; Tag might have been a bit pushy.  The romance itself might have gotten a bit cheesy.

And other characters were in line with a typical Jill Shalvis small-town-set, all with their interestingly unique personalities and a potential worth of back story.

The conclusion still seemed open-ended, with the issue between tag and his father quite unresolved.  The issues concerning Cassie's revenge plot kind of loses wind, and it would have been nice to see at least one person from Cassie's past eat their words, or get walloped with some sort of repentance or even get shown up.

But we make this story more about Cassie's own self-revelations, with some life-altering events... and then we move on.  The open ended resolution is probably apt as a way of showing that life just moves on whether or not you get your revenge.  There are always going to be people you treat you fairly, and others who will never see past their pre-judgments.

I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here; but I'm not entirely sure I can put my finger on what it is.

Naturally Naughty

by Leslie Kelly
-- 3.5 Stars

I found that I liked Naturally Naughty more than Naughty But Nice, if only because the romance felt a bit more down-to-earth.  I mean, sure there's a big "lust and first sight" factor going on here, but it's pretty standard, and not completely unbelievable.  HOWEVER, when we throw in the "meant to be at first sight" deal more towards the end--that whole "I think I've loved you since that first time I saw you" nonsense, I always roll my eyes.  Had that been left out of the story, I might have been more inclined to give it a higher rating.

The revenge story that slowly develops into another self-revelation story feels a bit more realistic in this second Bare Essentials story than the first had been.  Truth, it's not that Naughty But Nice wasn't a believable romance, it just felt too cheesy to be more than a sweet contemporary romance.

On the other hand, Naturally Naughty progresses at a more banal pace, skipping over certain points of the story that had already been told in the previous; but at the same time, it gives more of a feel for Kate's little self-discovery journey as she comes home to Pleasantville and begins to see things in a different light.

Kate and Jack make a great couple, with a nice lusty friendship that slowly builds into more of a loving intimacy as they work around their problems--a semi-feud between each other's family, and a secret hanging over each other's heads.  I find it kind of amusing that both Kate and Jack are holding onto the same secret, unwilling to tell the other for the same reason: they don't want to hurt each other from finding out about a loved one's betrayal.

This story, unlike the first, was more about a self-revelation for both Kate and Jack, and in that sense, I really liked it.  This story is a little bit better resolved, with some old hates and hurts being forgiven and forgotten readily after some reflection by each character.

Once again, I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here as well.  Once again, I'm not entirely sure I know what it is.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/thoughts-bare-essentials.html
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review 2017-08-14 03:10
Long Rambling Thoughts: Once in a Lifetime
Once in a Lifetime - Jill Shalvis

Once in a Lifetime
by Jill Shalvis
Book 9 of Lucky Harbor


And then sometimes, there's a Jill Shalvis book that leaves you so conflicted that you're not even sure how you feel, much less how to give it a star rating.

Because Once in a Lifetime certainly did that.

You love it because it provides a lot of interesting insight to a lot of pretty down-to-earth, real life situations.  But you don't love it because sometimes these potentially promising conflicts just don't seem to have been executed in the best of ways.

And then you love it still, because it gives you characters like Aubrey, who has decided, on her own terms, to turn her life around and make amends for her past so that she can move forward with her future.  But then you don't love it because she then gets surrounded by a bunch of self-righteous, unmoving people who think that they have the moral high ground over her quest, not even giving her the time of day, when we know that everything Aubrey is trying to move forward from, were mainly all the things she did during her wild child days of being young and stupid.

Because who's never been young and stupid?

But then, you love it again, because of people like Lucille, who's such a nosy, busy-body, but who has a genuine heart of kindness, who doesn't judge, because she's older than the dinosaurs and understands that, well, shit happens in life, and we move on.  Truthyfully, Lucille was one of the highlights of this story and I only wished we could have seen more of her meddling if it gave Aubrey a chance to breathe through her mission.

The other highlight was this:

"Hold on a sec," he said.  Christ--he was going to do it; he was really going to ask.  "I thought we didn't like Dani."

Pink shrugged.  "She said she was sorry for being mean."

Kendra nodded, her pigtails flying.

Just like that.  Just that easy.  Ben looked into their sweet, innocent faces and felt something shift within him.  They were so damn resilient.  So easy to please.  So completely full of life.

And so full of forgiveness.

[...]

Bemused, Ben sat there for a long moment, absorbing the fact that he'd just been schooled on life and forgiveness by a couple of five-year-olds.



The Story:
Aubrey Wellington was never the golden child growing up.  She knows that she has a reputation for being a bitch, and she surely was never any teacher's favorite pupil... far from it.  But as she tries to start a new stage in her life, reviving her Aunt Gwen's book store and settling into something meaningful for her future, she's now determined to look back at her past and right some of the wrongs she'd accumulated during her youth.  Encouraged by the help of a local pastor, an accidental attendance of an AA meeting, and a list of names, Aubrey sets out to make amends with all the people she feels she'd wronged over the years.

And one of the people on her list is Ben McDaniels; an old high school crush, and now the guy who's helping her with her bookstore renovations.  Ben has just returned to Lucky Harbor after five years of being adrift after his wife's passing.  As an engineer, he'd spent his time building equipment and structures to help sustain and improve life in third world countries.  Returning to Lucky Harbor, he's pretty much the golden boy of the town, a little local hero, and maybe ready to stay in one place for a while.

And despite what either of the two have in mind, it seems that the attraction sizzling at the surface between them is something neither ever expected.


My Thoughts:
One of the things that came to mind while reading this book is something that I realize is always a problem in a lot of small town romances: the Double Standards.  Okay, so well, this is something you see in a lot of books anyway, romance or not, and really, just in real life in general.  But I'm narrowing it down to contemporary romances that take place in small towns, specifically this one.

Lucky Harbor is a place where everyone knows everyone and their business.  The majority of the people we get to follow throughout this series are Lucky Harbor residence, born and raised, and permanently rooted.  So you get to read a lot about how so-and-so used to be when he or she was younger.  You get to read about how Mallory was always the good girl, or how Sawyer and his buddies caused trouble when they were young... how Chloe was the wild child, and Leah was the girl next door, but who had a hard time of her childhood.

But for the most part, you read a lot of random, casually mentioned hints here and there about how most of the boys were all just holy terrors in their teenage heydays.

In fact, I'm not entirely sure there weren't any of our Lucky Harbor series males who didn't terrorize the public, and made a reputation for themselves as troublemakers.  And some of these antics written about, that color the back story of many of our lovely Lucky Harbor books, could have also been dangerous, life-threatening, illegal, or even construed as bullying.

But then the boys grow up, and the entire town flips their switches.  Because one trouble-making boy becomes a police chief and everyone loves him now.  One holy terror becomes a fire fighter and the whole town is in awe of him.

And the hero of this particular novel is mentioned to have had his moment in the trouble-making light.  But he's now Lucky Harbor's wonder boy, who is an engineer who works to help install important pieces of equipment in third world countries.

The point is, these boys did their worst, came out unscathed, changed their ways, and everyone loves them and becomes super protective of them.  Boys will be boys, and boys will get in trouble, and boys are just like that.  But in the end, they are still Lucky Harbor's boys and everyone still loves them and gives them the benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, troublemakers like Aubrey Wellington, apparently don't get that kind of biased treatment.  And therein lies the Double Standard.

Because even as this book progresses, Aubrey continues to get crap thrown at her by people who, yes, she has wronged in the past, but who have also wronged her as well.  In another sense, being young and wild, a lot of the things that Aubrey claims she is going around trying to collect penance for... well, I'm not entirely sure all of it was singularly her fault.  And she shouldn't be the only one being labeled a troublemaker for it, nor should it fall to her shoulders to take all the weight of the blame.

Most importantly, she's trying to apologize for the things she has screwed up in from her past, and no one will give her the time of day.  Some of the people who were on her list were adults during her wild child heyday as a teen troublemaker--one of them, even, is currently an advocate for troubled teens (ironic...).  And instead of brushing off her bitchy, trouble-making youth like they all do for the boys of Lucky Harbor, they continue to look down their noses at her, as if they all have a leg to stand on, based on some sort of screwed up moral high ground they view themselves on.

Honestly, I give more leeway to trouble-making teens, because they're still young, and they still have time to reassess their actions and learn from them.  Mean-spirited adults, however, are a bit more unforgivable--they should know better.

And the way we see Aubrey's reasons for everything she'd done wrong, a lot of it was in retaliation for how she'd been treated first, except for maybe one or two instances.

Mean girls in high school who were mean to Aubrey first; and Aubrey stepping up and facing them down by out-mean-ing them doesn't come to me as a "big troublemaker screw up."  That's survival.  A teacher who falsely accuses a student of several wrongdoings, gets her in trouble and suspended, probably shouldn't be surprised when said student turns around and repays that favor.  That's Karma.  A snooty district attorney who goes out of her way to say demeaning things to a young teenager just because she doesn't approve of her being pretty, then finding herself the butt end of a bad prank.  Also not a surprising turnaround.  A bunch of stupid kids out drinking and causing general mayhem, who then cross a few lines when someone gets hurt... is simply that: a bunch of stupid kids.

Aubrey was just a stupid kid, just like every other stupid kid that Lucky Harbor produced and raised, who caused trouble and general mayhem, and who eventually learned to grow up and set upon a road to get her life together.

But this is Aubrey's own self-appointed journey to face down her own conscience; so I'm sure there's more insight there than I'm actually seeing.

However, to be totally honest, when she described the situation with the first person she needed to apologize to, I actually felt my eyes widen and my jaw drop.  Aubrey felt she'd screwed up and cost her sister an important internship, and her sister has never forgiven her for that incident.  Except that, no matter how I read the paragraphs and the snide dialogue from her sister's side, I don't see that the screw up was Aubrey's, nor does her sister have a reason to hold a grudge.

According to the back story:

Carla had needed a favor.  She'd found herself needing to be at her job at the same time as she'd needed to sign some documents to accept a very important internship, so she'd asked her look-alike sister to go sign for her.

Aubrey had been working her butt off full-time and trying to keep full-time school hours as well.  Busy, exhausted, hungry, and admittedly bitchy, Aubrey had agreed to the favor, even though she'd known it would be a real crunch to get there in time.  She'd left a little later than she should have, gotten stuck in traffic, showed up late, and lost Carla the internship.


Look, maybe I'm not seeing the underlying meaning here, but no matter how many times I read these two paragraphs, I can't seem to see how this screw up was Aubrey's responsibility, and how it would have merited Carla's life-long grudge.  Nor do I see how it justifies Carla's bitter sniping at Aubrey about how Aubrey was late probably because she was with their mother getting their hair and nails done.  Of all the spoiled and privileged bullshit that came out of her sister's mouth, harping about how she had to study at all the toughest schools and become a successful doctor and wah, wah, wah...

Because how many people even have the opportunity to even go to school, nonetheless, the toughest schools?  How many people can boast about being in a successful career, rather than at a crossroads in their life because they were never given that kind of opportunity?  Carla got chosen by their orthopedic surgeon father who proceeded to have a new life without Aubrey and their mother.  So while Carla is complaining about exhausting days in school, Aubrey had to scrounge to find her own way to pay for the opportunity to go to school at all.

So Carla had lost the internship and had to wait another whole year just to get it--big freakin' deal!

But I honestly do not see how that was Aubrey's responsibility to begin with, and that maybe Carla should have managed her time a little bit better.  Or at least be understanding that it wasn't like Aubrey had agreed to help and then blew it off on purpose.

I guess, I just didn't see how any of this was Aubrey's fault at all.  And on top of that, what about the moral and/or ethical issues of having a stand-in sign for you?  What if whatever committee found out that the person who signed hadn't really been Carla?  Then what?  Point more fingers and tell Aubrey that she'd screwed that up as well?

This entire story irritates me, because it was a pretty great premise that seemed really vanilla in flavor.  If Aubrey had truly been a big, bitchy troublemaker, then I'd probably love seeing her growth throughout the book as she went down her list to make amends with people.  But most of the antics she'd brought up from her past were somehow over-dramatically misaligned as, terrible, terrible deeds that mar her reputation for life; as her being the main culprit to blame for any and all screw ups.

In reality, a lot of her "wrongs" were either misunderstandings that no one would hear her explanations for; or a case of holier-than-thou adults already writing her off as a troublemaker even when she'd done nothing wrong.  Other "wrongs" were just a case of kids being kids--young and stupid, and overly emotional.

I've seen worse from kids when I was a teenager.  Heck, even some of the boys in these books talk about some of their own antics that were way worse than what Aubrey's done to other people.

But for some reason, the entire town, whilst able to forgive the sins of every other troubled teenager who caused trouble, especially the boys, sort of just cast Aubrey to the wolves.  The entire town can't seem to keep their opinions to themselves as soon as they notice that Ben and Aubrey are seen together in the same breathing space.  All of a sudden, the people of Lucky Harbor feel like they need to band together to protect Ben from Aubrey's evil, trouble-making, bitchy ideals.

Even though Ben is the one who keeps interjecting himself into Aubrey's life; even though Aubrey is the one who keeps telling him to go away and mind his own business.  Even though Ben was more likely to break hearts than Aubrey would have been to lead him astray of his golden boy status.

It's moments like these that I really, really find myself unable to like the small town of Lucky Harbor.  Little bits of dialogue, casually flung around about Aubrey and how "I'm telling you she's trouble" or "You're not good enough for Ben and he deserves better" really don't speak highly of the togetherness that Lucky Harbor is supposed to boast among its residents.

If I were Aubrey, I would have high-tailed it out of that town a long time ago, for all the closed-minded, pre-judgmental attitudes that everyone's been taking with her.  Even her father was a complete ass about things and he was barely in the book.

Ben was a troublemaker too--in fact, he admits to doing all sorts of things that would have gotten himself into jail, or maybe worse.

So what made his wrongs so much more forgiving than Aubrey's?  What makes it okay for the town to continue writing off Aubrey as a troublemaker, but accept that Ben has grown up and become a better person?


Anyway, hopping back down off of my soapbox of Double Standards.

Once in a Lifetime is a really hard book for me to decide whether I liked it or not.

I loved Aubrey, and I loved her friendship with Leah and Ali.  I loved how Aubrey was so willing to own up to her own shortcomings and try to make amends for her wrongdoings.  I loved how Aubrey was willing to put herself out there, even though everyone just sneered in her face, or continued to ponder about what other evil acts she's brewing up.  I loved how she didn't really make excuses for herself, even though, there came a moment when I really, really wished that someone would just put her reasons for what she'd done out there for all to see.

But aside from all of that, I didn't really love a whole lot else about this book.  As I'd stated, I loved Lucille, even though her presence was limited; but each and every silent gesture and nosy info dump she presented was a blessing to Aubrey's plight.  I loved the two twin five-year-old girls, even though their tangent seemed a little incoherent with the main story line of this book.

I DID NOT love Ben, unfortunately, because not only was he just another standard broody, male alpha... he let his own misgivings and fears rule his life, thus causing that obligatory romantic angst in any and all romance novels.  He even uses Aubrey's self-proclaimed screw ups of her past to punish her emotionally when she tells him why he's also on her list.  Like a typical romance novel hero.  I also did not love the lack of interaction between the three stooges, Ben, Luke, and Jack; and that what interaction we DID get made Jack out to be more of an ass than he was in his own book.  Luke was still great and I still like him a lot.

Finally... I did not like that the book still feels kind of open ended, even as the ending was also super rushed, both for Aubrey's self-journey, as well as our main couple's romance.

Aubrey and Ben had sexual chemistry in spades, I'll give them that.  But romantically... I honestly didn't really feel it for them.  So their concluding chapter of love declarations and whatnot actually felt really cheesy and forced.

And on a final side note, I think I would have liked to see more of Aubrey's conflict with other people resolved, especially with her father--this relationship was entirely open-ended, and made me a little irritated, especially considering the emotional turmoil that just thinking about her absent father had given her at least three or four times throughout the book.


As I said, sometimes there's just a Jill Shalvis book that you can't figure out.  Do I love it?  Do I hate it?  I'm not even sure.  Which is why everyone ends up getting a long-winded ramble of all the things I end up thinking about when I'm reading a book like this.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/long-rambling-thoughts-once-in-lifetime.html
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review 2017-08-12 01:15
Lost and Found Sisters - Jill Shalvis

I cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed this book. I first became aware of Jill Shalvis when I read the Heartbreaker Bay series. Since then I look forward to reading her books. Based on what I have read of her work so far, Lost and Found Sisters, which is the first book in the Wildstone series, took a different turn. The focus is not on romance, but on family, healing and forgiveness.

What the story is about.

Losing someone close is not a loss that one can easily move past. Quinn Weller would discover this devastating truth when she lost her sister in a car accident. Since that fateful day, her life has never been the same. She is empty on the inside and relationships have no meaning until the day she received some shocking news. News that would shake up her world and change her life in ways she never expected.

The Characters

I admired Quinn for her bravery. Walking away from the life she lived for thirty years to embrace the unknown took guts. She went looking for answers and she found more than she ever imagined. She found love and forged new friendships.

Change is never easy a fact that Quinn would come to realise. She struggled with the changes, but never once did she consider giving up. She is one of those characters that one cannot help but like. She is selfless, and she cares deeply for others. She also possesses a sarcastic sense of humour which when displayed placed a smile on my face.

Mick Hennessey returned to Wildstone, temporarily to help his mom get her house in order. He does not intend to stay, but then he meets Quinn who has him re-thinking his decision. He is caring and always willing to help.

They are attracted to each other but were afraid to explore the attraction as they were on different paths in life, which would lead to them being miles apart from each other. I liked that they moved past the fear and as a result discovered love. They were great for each other. He helped her sort out her feelings when things got complicated.

I found the town of Wildstone and its inhabitants interesting. They helped make the story shine with their humorous antics and banter.

The Story

Lost and Found Sisters is a heartfelt story filled with humour. It combines romance with life-affirming issues. At the start of each chapter are quotes that was both funny and true. The author provided a romance that is sweet and passionate but without the steam.
The inheritance was not what I expected, however; I enjoyed how this aspect of the story played out. I loved how Quinn came to terms with everything that is associated with her inheritance. She accepted both the good and the bad.

Conclusion /Recommendation

Lost and Found Sisters is a wonderful and poignant story of love, healing, self-discovery and embracing change. This is a great start to the series and I am eager to spend more time with the inhabitants of Wildstone.


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