>Lil’s Double Review of Simply Irresistible and The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

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Simply Irresistible (A Lucky Harbor Novel)Maddie Moore’s whole life needs a makeover.
In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.

Starting over won’t be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.

The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she’s sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie’s struggles to overcome the past, though she’s about to discover that there’s no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.

When Day and I discussed my first blog post we discussed throwing in a short bio for me. I honestly felt weird about writing it so I skipped. But I decided to give y’all a little background about my reading tastes and why I love contemporary fiction.

I love all books. I have always preferred books filled with angst, unexpected twists, pain, and down right emotionally draining endings. Like My Sister’s Keeper, that book slayed me. I loved it and have forced fed it to several people. Like many women I have read every Jane Austen. When I moved to Florida sixteen years ago at the tender age of 21, I left behind hundreds of books. I read like I breathe. I never had a real preference for one genre over another and honestly I still read everything I can get my hands on. Over the last year I have fallen in love with stories that are told with a mix of humor and angst. I love to laugh and I love to feel that ache in my heart only a really twisty love story can give me. Put them all in one book and I have simply died and gone to the big bookstore in the sky.

I also love to write. I hope someday something I write will be reviewed, discussed and yes thrown up against a wall by a reader because something I created touches them so deeply they can’t help but react. I’m also trying to be a better writer. I am trying to learn to write beyond what my twisted need for angst demands. To broaden my skills….my horizons.

So I started reading and researching writers who make their readers laugh while at the same time peppering in some angst. I mean really how hard could it be to make me laugh? I love to laugh! I a fun girl! ….. yeah well turns out it takes a lot more than I expected. It turns out it not only requires a writer to make me laugh to like their books but they had better make me feel like I’m in the thick of it. I don’t want to feel like I’m watching through a window, I want to feel like I’m in the room when someone’s fighting, laughing, or being naughty. Especially during the naughty bits.

I’ve actually been disappointed by some best selling authors. One author made me so mad I threw the book out. I don’t throw books out. I don’t give books away. I love being surrounded by them. I have books that I hated but I kept them. Their mine. Think of me as the “Eric Northman” of books. I am possessive and ruthless to keep them on my bookshelf and out of friends’ hands that never return them. (Hey don’t even try to look innocent! You know you are so not innocent.) What can I say… I don’t share well.

So to make a short story long, I received a hefty gift card for my birthday last November to a favorite book store. Just in time for an online book sale. I ended up with ten books and earning a free paperback. I always choose my “buy 3 get one” pick from an author I’ve never read before. This way if I end up hating it I don’t feel like a sucker when I force myself to finish a really crappy book just because I paid for it.

My free pick was Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis. I will admit at this time I had never heard of Ms. Shalvis. This was a completely blind choice. I could not have been happier. Now to explain why I was so happy without spoiling. After all I’m Lil and we all know by now how I feel about spoilers.

I fell in love with Maddie Moore in the first three pages. I understand the inability of eating, reflecting, and obsessing at the same time while driving. Heck, if I didn’t need to think to make the car go I would try to avoid that too. The only thing better than Maddie in the first chapter is Jax. I really, really like Jax. A lot. And when I say a lot, I mean a whole heck of a lot.

I smiled through most of this book. I giggled and even laughed out loud a few times. There were moments when my heart ached for both Maddie and Jax. Ms. Shalvis found a realistic balance between a romance novel and what would happen in real life. A realistic balance may I point out has become very important to me as a reader.

Real people, aka flawed human beings, react like the characters in this book. I find that addicting. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fantasy or paranormal excursion like everyone else, really I do, but I got happily lost in Lucky Harbor.

S.T. is a book full of characters that could be my friends and members of my family. I have read some books recently that are the same story with different names and for me that makes it down right boring. The Lucky Harbor series isn’t boring. It’s funny, irreverent at times, and the “Phoebisms” have found their way onto my Facebook status.

The Sweetest ThingTwo Men Are One Too Many . . .
Tara has a thousand good reasons not to return to the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Yet with her life doing a major crash-and-burn, anywhere away from her unfulfilled dreams and sexy ex-husband will do. As Tara helps her two sisters get their newly renovated inn up and running, she finally has a chance to get things under control and come up with a new plan for her life.

But a certain tanned, green-eyed sailor has his own ideas, such as keeping Tara hot, bothered . . . and in his bed. And when her ex wants Tara back, three is a crowd she can’t control-especially when her deepest secret reappears out of the blue. Now Tara must confront her past and discover what she really wants. If she’s lucky, she might just find that everything her heart desires is right here in Lucky Harbor.”

The Sweetest Thing was released last month and it follows Tara Daniels. The eldest of the three sisters, Tara was raised in Texas on her paternal grandparents horse farm. She only spent sporadic summers with her mother and even less time with her sisters. Tara reveals a dark secret to her middle sister Maddie and their younger sister Chloe in book one that will see closure in TST. Tara would probably disagree with me and say it’s a work in progress.

Ms. Shalvis again makes us all fall in love with another very handsome man. Ford is a professional competitive sailor who also co-owns a local bar, The Love Shack with his best friend Jax. Ford is an Alpha male who can cook. He also has washboard abs and green eyes. Need I say more?

Tara and Ford have a past full of turmoil. Tara can’t seem to see beyond what happened when they were teenagers and all Ford wants is to not dwell on it. Then enters Logan. Logan is Tara’s ex and he wants her back. I like Logan. He isn’t what he seems in the beginning and I’m hoping we have a future together (just a little hint Miss Jill).

I can’t believe I am about to say this. The Sweetest Thing is a better book. It’s deeper, it’s funnier, and as I put the book away for a second time my heart pinched. I miss these characters already. TST hits me where I live. It makes me miss my sisters. Appreciate my mom more. It made me want to bake…

The great thing about both the first two books in the Lucky Harbor series is they are worth paying for. Let’s just say I did lend out Simply Irresistible or TST and I didn’t get them back, I would gladly pay for a new copy to have on my shelf. I love the little harbor town and the people who reside there. It was so worth my time to re-read both of these books this week and I know I’ll pull them off the shelf again and again.

~Lil (Honorary Doll who wants to strangle Blogger)

PS. Coming soon. Ms. Shalvis agreed to sit down with me and answer some questions. I will have a chance soon to drill Miss Jill with my hardnose journalistic questions 😉 Until then, someone please tell me how to tame Blogger!
*Both books were purchased by Lil

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=paperbackdolls-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0446571628&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=paperbackdolls-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=044657161X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

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