My Kind of Wonderful

*This was a book I purchased. All thoughts about the book are my own. I have not been compensated in any way for my review*

My Kind of WonderfulPublished: December 22, 2015

My Kind of Wonderful — Jill Shalvis

I’ve recently been able to (kinda) beat back the funk I’ve been in. Depression isn’t a fun thing, and I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I realized that I hadn’t picked up a book (or rather, my kindle) to read in about a year. A year. For someone who can read several books a week…that’s saying something.

But thanks to my wonderful doctor (and anti-depression meds) I’ve been able to lose myself in books again. Or start to.

The first book I read post-depression funk was My Kind of Wonderful by the hilarious Jill Shalvis. This is book two in her Cedar Ridge series, and it was amazing.

In it, we have Hudson Kincaid (or Hud for short). He’s the younger half brother of Gray (who I don’t think has a book. Humph) and Aidan (Second Chance Summer). He — along with his brothers and sister — run a ski resort in Cedar Ridge, Colorado. I’ve never been to Colorado, but I have seen mountains…and this book made me long to be back out west, admiring their beauty. Hudson is the head of the resort’s ski patrol and also a cop in town…so he’s basically a badass.

If you ask his family…he’s a grumpy badass. I think the leading lady of the story would agree with them. Bailey Moore is an artist. And a cancer survivor. So basically, one hell of a woman. I really, really loved her character and as the book went on, loved her more.

She’s sassy, independent and doesn’t take Hudson’s shit. Which is something he needs, I think. She forces him outside of his comfort zone, and it’s good for him. He does the same for her, but in his gruff dude way.

I loved that when he figured out that she’d had cancer…he didn’t baby her. Oh, he probably would have wrapped her in bubble wrap if she’d let him…but she didn’t, and he respected that. I mean, that doesn’t mean that he totally didn’t go out of his way (sometimes) to help her. But he wasn’t a jerk about it.

Though…he was a jerk sometimes. A big fat, say things without thinking them through, jerk face that I wanted to strangle a few times. But in the end, he pulled his head out of his ass. Bailey wasn’t without her flaws too though. A cheater for an ex-fiance (how she could remain friends with him…I’ll never understand) and an overprotective mother, plus having cancer for the majority of her life made her want to keep things light and fluid. Probably mainly so people wouldn’t get attached if things went sideways with her illness.

Keeping things light and fluid is all well and good…until you find THE ONE and fate knocks you on your ass. Or fate has you read a map upside down and you end up on the hardest trail on the mountain and you’re a novice skier….and you’re rescued by Mr. Hot Grumpy Pants.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series Nobody But You, but luckily for me… because I’m so late to the game on reading this book… I only have to wait until tomorrow. Because that’s when it comes out. It’s about Hudson’s twin, Jacob…and after reading My Kind of Wonderful I’m STOKED for Jacob’s story.

I’d give this book a 10/10 because it was amazing and it has helped pull me out of my funk.

Now I need to load up my kindle with more books.

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He’s So Fine

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

He's So FineAvailable: September 30, 2014

He’s So Fine (Lucky Harbor) — Jill Shalvis

This book was everything that I needed and wanted it to be. From the moment I read the first chapter on the author’s website, I knew I needed to read this book. After reading It’s In His Kiss and getting to kind of know Cole and Olivia better, there was no doubt that I would be reading this book.

Everyone has something in their past that they wish wasn’t there. For some people, it’s more of their past that they wish wasn’t there. That’s the problem Olivia Bentley has been having. As a former child star, Olivia tries her best to keep her childhood separated (by any means necessary) from her adult life. Changing her name, moving to a town on the other side of the country from her family, doing whatever she can to not talk to said family… those are all steps Olivia took to start to try to make her life over as her life.

But then she made friends. Becca (from It’s In His Kiss) is Olivia’s roommate and new annoyingly sweet (any nosey) best friend. The first interactions between Olivia and Becca were heartbreaking and hilarious in the last book. Both were just starting to try to rebuild their lives in a new place and they bonded over that. Much to Olivia’s attempts otherwise. She acts tough, but she’s really a big softy.

After Becca and Sam’s relationship heats up, things get interesting. Because Becca and Olivia are friends… Sam and his friends, Cole and Tanner,  know who Olivia are. They haven’t officially  met… but they know that she’s Becca’s friend that watches them swim at the beach with Becca.

I loved Cole. I might have loved Cole more than I loved Sam in the last book (shhh. Don’t tell him). He’s a Lucky Harbor native and the resident MacGyver in town. If something is broken, Cole can fix it. The man is known for wearing cargo pants so that he can store his various tools in the pockets. He’s always prepared.

Well. He’s mostly always prepared. Except for that one time when he was fixing the wiring on the charter boat that he, Sam and Tanner own… That time he didn’t exactly fix it. He kind of, sort of had a flashback and ended up in the water. That’s when he officially met Olivia. She saw him go into the water… thought he needed saving (which he didn’t) and went in after him. Then he ended up having to save her and they both almost caught hypothermia… hilarity ensued after they were back on the boat.

I loved their relationship. She’s not used to letting people close because they leave. So when Cole first starts trying to pursue her, she tries to come up with ways to decline… but Cole sees through all of that. Cole knows that she’s special, and that when she’s around things are better. He’s not particularly thrilled that she won’t open up to him about her past and her family, but he figures that she’ll tell him when she’s ready.

I totally could understand why Olivia was scared to tell him about her past. Who she was back then is not at all who she is now. She’s completely different. How is she to know that he won’t judge her for being a child star? Or for her behavior after the limelight faded and everything in her world fell apart?

Cole hates secrets. And lies. He’s been burned in the past by both and has a very low tolerance for both. When Olivia’s secret is revealed to him (NOT BY HER) he’s understandably pissed. I probably would have been too. Though, I thought that he handled the whole situation badly. He was a little too ridged. Too unbending.

Through the other people in the town and with some help from the past, he’s able to realize what an asshat he was to her. One of the things that I love about these Lucky Harbor books is that the secondary and background characters are so engaged and woven into the story. It’s your typical small town and everyone is in everyone else’s business (with thanks to Lucille) but in moments like this, when the hero or heroine needs a kick in the pants to realize what an idiot they have been… the town is there to do that. I loved it.

Of course, Cole and Olivia get their happily ever after… after Cole realizes his mistakes and learns to bend a bit. I was sad when the end of the book happened. I wanted more. I know I’ll get more in the next book One In A Million. But that’s forever away from now. FOREVER.

Can I just take a minute here to say how EXCITED I am about the next book? It’s probably not for reasons that you’ll guess. Yes, I’m happy to read Tanner’s story. I’ve liked getting to know Tanner in the last two books… but I’m excited because the leading lady’s name in the book is… wait for it… Callie. That’s MY name. I don’t often see my name in books. It’s not as common as most names, so whenever I see it I have a little bit of a freak out. Not only is her name Callie… but she’s a strawberry blonde (hello, I’m a ginger) and her eyes are blue. Okay, my eyes are greenish blue…but it’s close enough. Is it a coincidence? PROBABLY. But whatever. I’m excited about it. Am I a dork? Yes, probably. Y’all love me anyway.

Back to He’s So Fine… I wish I’d given myself a scale out of twenty instead of ten. Because I’d totally give this one a 20/20. I completely and totally recommend it.

But… since I didn’t give myself that big of a scale, I’ll just go with the 10/10. Get this book. You can thank me later. 

It’s In His Kiss

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

It's In His KissAvailable: August 26, 2014

It’s In His Kiss (Lucky Harbor) — Jill Shalvis

I have to admit that I have a short list of authors that are instant buys for me. I’ve read enough of their books and have loved each and every one of them to the point that I don’t read the synopsis’s of their new books anymore before I buy them. Or in this case… request them on NetGalley.

Jill Shalvis is one of those authors. It’s probably bad to admit all that, but I had to be honest. I started reading her Lucky Harbor series forever ago (okay… about four years ago, but it feels like forever ago). I’ve also read her other two series Animal Magnetism and The Wilder Series. Each and every book in any of these three series of hers that I’ve read I’ve loved.

This book was no different.

I always seem to find myself getting more emotionally invested in book characters than is probably healthy, but it’s pretty rare that a book makes me cry. Okay. Almost cry. That’s happened once or twice before with Jill’s books. I’ll get to a part in the book where tensions and emotions are running high for the two main characters and I have to put the book down and compose myself. Take a deep breath. If that hasn’t ever happened to you while reading a book, then you have NO IDEA what I’m talking about and I sound like I’m crazy.

It’s In His Kiss made me have one of those moments where I had to compose myself. Except… I was so engrossed in the story, in what was happening between Becca and Sam that I couldn’t close my computer. I DIDN’T CRY. But I almost did. My eyes may have gotten a little watery, and I may have said out loud “DAMNIT JILL”. But I DID NOT cry.

Why did I almost cry? Because this book is fabulous. It’s In His Kiss is the TENTH installment in Jill’s Lucky Harbor series. In it, we have Becca Thorpe and Sam Brody… also known as The Peeper and Sexy Grumpy Surfer respectfully. Becca is new to Lucky Harbor and from the moment she blows into town, things change. Sam has been a Lucky Harbor resident from the time he was a teenager, and everyone knows and loves him. They meet in passing on a beach at the beginning of the book… with Sam overhearing Becca talking to herself. It was very funny.

I loved Becca Thorpe. She might be my most favorite lead female character I’ve read so far this year. She’s sassy, strong and doesn’t let Sam Brody intimidate her. Much. She’s also scarred. Flawed. But so full of life. She felt real. If Lucky Harbor was a real place that I could visit, I would. And I would try my best to get Becca Thorpe to be my best friend. Life hasn’t always been very kind to Becca, but she doesn’t let all of that baggage weigh her down.

Sam Brody was also a love of mine. Who wouldn’t love a brooding, growly, sexy alpha surfer dude? I know I would. And did. Sam has a way of saying things, without actually saying anything. When he cares about someone and let that person into his circle (very small circle) he’d go to the ends of the world for that person. The man made a coffee machine work by sweet talking it. Lucky coffee machine.

The interactions between Sam and Becca were all kinds of great from the very beginning. They just clicked. He just seemed to know her and was able to read her moods with seemingly little effort. Sam was able to show her that she could trust herself, and that she was capable of so much more than she thought. I loved that. Becca was able to teach Sam that love wasn’t a dirty word, and that letting people in wasn’t a bad thing. They were so good for each other.

The thing I love the most about series like this one is that you get to see characters (even if it’s a brief mention) from previous books. It’s like checking up on old friends.

Cole and Tanner (Sam’s best buddies — aka “the ladies”… don’t ask. Just read the book. You’ll understand soon why they’re called that) were hilarious and I loved them. LOVED THEM. They fit in great with Becca and Sam’s characters in the book and were just so fun to read throughout It’s In His Kiss.

The eleventh book looks like it’s going to be Cole’s story. I went ahead and read the blurb for that one and I CANNOT WAIT. Just from that little bit I read, I just know it’s going to be another hit.

I love Jill’s writing. I think she’s an amazingly talented author and I’ll read whatever she puts out. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a book or a blog post on her website (which are hilarious by the way… you should go read her “I Love Lucy” and “Conversation” posts). She has this ability to pull you in and make you fall in love with not just the main characters of her book, but the secondary characters and everything that is associated with the book. The town, the pets… whatever. You’ll be pulled in before you’ve realized it and by that point, it’s too late.

I haven’t found a book of hers yet that I haven’t read in one sitting. Putting down one of her books after I’ve started reading it is almost painful.

I’m not sure there are enough words in the English dictionary to describe how much I loved this book and how much I want all of you to read it.

10/10 would recommend.