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review 2017-12-09 02:58
Chasing Christmas Eve - Jill Shalvis

I have followed the Heartbreaker Bay series from the beginning.  From that moment I became invested in the lives of the characters featured and was eager for each of them to get their happily ever after. When I discovered this would be Spence’s story I was eager to dive into this one. Having been fascinated by Spence from the previous books and given my experience with the previous books I had high expectations for Chasing Christmas Eve.

 

What the story is about.

Imagine taking an unplanned trip to a city, you never intended to visit, but because of the weather, it proved to be the safest choice. All this was done to escape the stress of your personal and professional life. In the process the one thing you never expected occurred, you found your soul mate and discovered long-lasting and meaningful friendships. 

Well Colbie Albright could tell you all about such an experience. She ended up in San Francisco, because she was fatigued, overwhelmed with family issues and dealing with writer’s block.   Meeting geeky and sexy Spencer Baldwin and falling in love was not on her agenda, but fate had different plans.

 

The last thing on Spencer Baldwin’s mind is being involved in a relationship not that he has had any luck in that department. Besides his latest project consumed all his waking moments.  Therefore, when he came face to face with the beautiful and mysterious Colbie Albright he was taken aback by his reaction to her.  Getting involved with her would not be a wise move as she is only in the city for two weeks, but the heart want what the heart wants. 

 

Will he be able to let her go at the end of the two weeks or will he be able to convince her that what they share is not worth two weeks but a lifetime?

 

I remember the first time I read a book written by Jill Shalvis. Her writing sucked me in and warmed my heart. She creates relatable characters served up with a side of fun and Chasing Christmas Eve was no different.

This was a fun read, and it had everything I expected. Wonderful characters, humour, heat and friendships. The pacing was perfect and the drama low-keyed.  Never once did I experience a dull moment.  There was surprising and interesting development.  It had to do with Eddie, the homeless guy who Spence is always looking to assist.  It was a shocking but pleasant surprise.

 

I fell in love with Spence when I met him in the previous instalments.  However, I was disappointed with his portrayal in this installment.  Yes, he is brilliant, sexy, caring, and humble but I did not like how he allowed his friends to dictate his personal life. I understood the need to want to protect a friend, but he is a big man who can make his own decisions.  Elle was the one I had the issue with in this area.  She need to chill.  I enjoyed seeing taking a break from work and having fun.

 

Colbie cares for her family even though they are the source of her current situation. They are everything to her.   She is delightful and I enjoyed peeling away the layers of her character.  I loved how she blended in with Spencer’s friends.

 

I loved them as a couple. Their chemistry, which was evident from their initial meeting, was off the charts.  Their initialmeeting took place under unfortunate but funny circumstances. They had so much in common, which made them a perfect pair. They both feared commitment when it came to relationships. She was afraid of opening up her heart, while Spence feared he would break it, as he believed he was no good at relationships. However, where Spence was willing to take a chance, Colbie was more interested in running.  Watching, as they overcome these issues and taking a chance on love was delightful and heart-warming. I enjoyed their interaction with each other, which was fun and filled with heat.  

 

Conclusion/Recommendation

Chasing Christmas Eve is an entertaining, witty and heart-warming story that had me smiling from ear to ear.  This is a great addition to the series and I am eager to see what next Jill Shalvis has in store for the gang of Heartbreaker Bay.

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review 2017-12-09 02:51
Holiday Wishes - Jill Shalvis

What the Story is about.
What would you do if you got the chance to right a wrong from your past?


In this installment we are introduced to Lotti Hartford a blast from Sean’s past. Lotti is in charge of the Bed and Breakfast where Pru and Finn’s bachelor/bachelorette is being hosted.

 Sean, Finn’s brother, is in charge of the planning and to everyone’s amazement; he has done an excellent job. However, the one thing he had not planned for was his reunion with the girl whose heart he broke when he was sixteen years old.  

Will he able to convince her he has changed and can she trust him not to break her heart once again?


Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis is book #4.5 in the Heartbreaker Bay series. Like the other books in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. However, if you want to get the full benefit of this fun and adorable series, I would recommend you start at the beginning.


Holiday Wishes features one of my favourite tropes, a second chance romance. Combined with my favourite holiday and a weekend wedding and I knew I would be in for a treat.

 

The Story
A short and sweet Christmas read that allowed me to hang out with the Heartbreaker gang while enjoying the development of the romance between the protagonists.  A well-written story with relateable characters and steady pacing made this a worthwhile read.

The Characters
Sean is a character with whom I am familiar. When I met him in the first book in the series, I found him to be immature and irresponsible. However, in this installment he demonstrated that he was not the irresponsible and immature young man persons perceived him to be. I loved this side of him.

I could not fault Lotti for her initial reaction to seeing Sean again after all these years. It could not have been easy for her to face the one person who had the power to break her heart into tiny pieces.  However, in spite of her fears the one thing she could not deny was the explosive attraction between them, which was as strong as ever.

It was a treat watching them navigate their un-resolved feelings and off the chart chemistry. I loved them together, and I silently hoped that they would get it right this time around.

Conclusion and Recommendation
Fans of the series will enjoy this Christmas themed novella. If you have not started the series, then I recommend that you do so as soon as you can as you are missing out on some fun and awesome stories.  As for me, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

Another hit from one of my favourite authors and a great addition to the Heartbreaker Bay series.1

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review 2017-12-03 17:26
Just Above Meh, Not Worth My time
Smart and Sexy - Jill Shalvis


I'm not loving this, it's above meh. There seems to be a bit of story and a lot of groping, rubbing and ridiculous running for you lives without a damn answer to why. Really who would run from bullets without and explanation for this chick ????? Not one of her better books. Now, do I DNF it and try another of do I continue with meh+ ? I DNF, my time is worth more than this. No more meh sandwiches 

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review 2017-11-11 07:55
Thoughts: It's in His Kiss
It's in His Kiss - Jill Shalvis

It's in His Kiss
by Jill Shalvis
Book 10 of Lucky Harbor


'Sexy Grumpy Surfer' are three words combined together that aren't as smoothly read as you would think.  I tried it a few times, so if we must, we shall refer to Sam as the 'SGS'... if I feel like lending him an endearing nickname or something.  Sam's nickname for Becca is just slightly cuter, as he calls her 'Peeper' since he's caught her staring at him from her apartment window many times.

At some point, I almost forgot that these characters had real names anyway.

As for the actual story, itself... well, let's just say that Jill Shalvis, while excellent at creating character interaction and lovely humor, definitely isn't all that great at addressing issues that are a bit more serious in nature.  She will use them to help create a backstory for her characters... but by conclusion, those issues seem glossed over in favor of simply solving all the problems with the "One True Love" formula.

And while it's not entirely a deal-breaker for me continuing to read a Jill Shalvis book, I can certainly understand why this would be a reason for many others to be upset or frustrated.


The Story:
Becca Thorpe arrived in Lucky Harbor to get away from the stress of recent events involving her family, specifically her little brother.  To Becca, Lucky Harbor was only supposed to be a pit-stop until she could figure out what to do with herself, how to move on and get her life back together.  But as she continues to explore and get to know Lucky Harbor, she finds herself drawn to the small town of eccentric residents, and slowly creating a home for herself, even if she doesn't realize it yet.

Add onto that the Sexy Grumpy Surfer guy, Sam Brody, and Becca has every reason to continue hanging around... even if this is just a pit-stop.

Meanwhile, while trying to avoid his own complications, Sam can't help but be drawn to Becca when he notices that she has secrets that have hurt her in the past.  He's intent on finding out what her mystery is, even as he has some unresolved issues of his own that need addressing.


My Thoughts:
Sometimes I wonder if some authors just like to create characters with tragic or crappy backgrounds just so that they can become soul mates in their love story.

Sam and Becca both suffer from disappointing, pretty terrible, childhoods.  Sam's father had always been unreliable, which had always ended with Sam in the foster care system.  In present day, Sam does nothing but give his father anything the old man asks for, even if it's unreasonable and only manages to further cause a rift between father and son.  Becca's parents had always left her younger brother to Becca's care, expecting her to do whatever it takes for her brother, even at the expense and detriment of Becca's well-being and mental health.  In present day, this expectation is still floating in the air, and recent events are what caused Becca to uproot and move away from her family, hoping to find comfort and solace for herself.

Once again, to be honest, Jill Shalvis writes lovely characters and stories, with a lot of cute dialogue and tangential side stories.  These are all fine and dandy, but then she brings in some serious issues, such as Sam's relationship with his father, or Becca's relationship with her parents and her brother, or Becca's stage fright, or even the alluded to tragic event that had brought Becca all the way across the country to Lucky Harbor, Washington.

There is always so much potential for these issues to be addressed in a thoughtful way.  In the meantime, there's no reason why we can't have a sweet romance at the same time.

But the book is slightly imbalanced in that the romance overshadows every other issue brought to surface, and then in the end, apparently it's back to "love conquers all," and then Happily Ever After.

The resolution of both Becca's and Sam's conflicts with their respective parents felt abrupt and too easily managed.  The resolution with Becca and her brother might have been a little more believable.  But the issue about Becca's recent tragic event... I'm not sure I really like how that one was handled.

Meanwhile, the romance had it's moments, but the fact that our couple lives in a perpetual state of keeping secrets from each other, but also expecting the other to answer all questions posed to the other was a bit frustrating.  I loved how Sam tried to take care of Becca; I love how Becca got under Sam's skin and makes a place for herself in his life.

What I don't like is how Sam will push for personal, private information that Becca wants to keep to herself, but then shut down the minute she turns around and starts asking him about his own problems.  Then vice versa.

On the other hand, Becca and Olivia actually make a better starting out friendship--neither pushes the other to reveal secrets that she doesn't want to tell.  It's called respect, and the girls seem to be able to keep to those boundaries.  I mean, maybe over time when they get to know each other better, they can start sharing family histories... but for right now, they had just met barely a handful of days ago.  So I find this a refreshing friendship.

Meanwhile Sam and Becca just kept getting irritated when the other wouldn't talk or share stories with the class.

Anyway, enough of my issues.

It's In His Kiss wasn't exactly a Jill Shalvis book that was completely terrible.  I'd say it was in the mediocre 'meh' level, if only because it had it's moments, and it didn't really frustrate me too much.  I will say, however, that I DO miss the close camaraderie of each trio of friends found in each sub-trilogy of the Lucky Harbor series.  Sam, Cole, and Tanner were fun, but they were also kind of boring.  Becca had Olivia... but where's the third point of the trio?  Not to say that Becca and Olivia's new friendship wasn't great--the drunken by two bottles of wine scene was pretty cute.


***

The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season

 

16 Festive Tasks - Dies Natalis Solis Invicti


I'd been meaning to read the rest of Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor books anyway, and it just so happens that this book can fit a couple squares for the 16 Festive Tasks.  And so I've marked it for Square 14 -- Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Read a book that has a beach or seaside setting.  Sam and his two best friends are surfers as well as run a charter company, and Becca rents a warehouse turned apartment near where they work and live; so the majority of this book DOES indeed take place with the beach as a main part of the setting.

Other Possible Squares:

  • Square 2 | Bon Om Touk:  Water on the cover.
  • Square 3 | St. Martin's Day:  Becca spends the first part of the book looking for a job--her one night waitressing stint was hilarious.
  • Square 10 | Pancha Ganapati:  Book cover has blue, green, orange, and yellow.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/thoughts-its-in-his-kiss.html
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review 2017-11-10 01:41
Holiday Wishes - Jill Shalvis

Holiday Wishes was a fun, sexy, and fast-paced romance. It was filled with all my favorite characters from the Heartbreaker Bay series, and we got to see Sean O'Riley get his story.

 

I feel like we haven't really learned much about Sean in the first few books, so I liked that his book was the Christmas novella of the series this year. I loved that he was reacquainted with his high school sweetheart at the B&B he booked for his brother and future sister-in-law's bachelor/bachelorette weekend. I also loved that Lotti totally blew him off when they first saw each other for the first time. I had to laugh just a little as the weather trapped everyone at the B&B longer, Lottie ended up helping Sean pull off an amazing wedding celebration.

 

I liked the chemistry that still remained between Sean and Lottie, and enjoyed the banter between them as well. As this is a novella length story, the romance moved fast, but because of their history, I could buy into the fast building romance between Sean and Lottie.

 

Jill Shalvis once again delivers a wonderful holiday romance. The Heartbreaker Bay series has quickly become one of my favorites from Ms. Shalvis, and Holiday Wishes was an excellent addition to the series.

 

Rating: 5 Stars (B+)

Review copy provided by publisher

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