Monday, June 25, 2012

Dual Review: Lucky In Love & At Last by Jill Shalvis

I'm going to call books 4 - 6 in Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series, "Lucky Harbor Take 2." Even though these books are technically is in the series, it really should start a new trilogy/series of its own. Yes, it takes place in  the town of Lucky Harbor, and a few of the same secondary characters are present, but barely a mention of the main characters we grew to love in books 1-3. The main characters we do meet in book 4 are clearly set up to be a trilogy: Mallory, Amy, and Grace are friends who hold regular chocoholics meetings (sidenote: how much do I love that the word chocoholics is actually in my spellchecker dictionary?!) but I thought it was weird that these girls weren't present in books 1-3 at all and now all of a sudden they are part of this series? Of course, the people who are mentioned in all the books are the same annoying locals who pry into the lives of its citizens WAY too much for it to be acceptable (yet, somehow it is). Maybe some readers will find these old biddies endearing, but I liked these books in spite of them, not because of them. I felt like Shalvis (whose work I am a HUGE fan of) wanted to start a new series, but was too lazy to develop a new town.

Lucky In Love
 (Book #4 in the Lucky Harbor Series)
Jill Shalvis
Published May 22, 2012
Grand Central Publishing
341 pages
 Despite all that, book #4 (or book 1 of this new trilogy), Lucky In Love on its own is good. Not my favorite of the series, but Shalvis consistently delivers on solid, likable couples. The chemistry between Ty and Mallory is sizzling - that is when they are actually left alone. Those aforementioned town meddlers become increasingly frustrating and I found myself wanting to scream at Mallory to stop allowing people to walk all over her. But, I guess that was the point, because she actually does stand up to them at one point. A satisfying end makes up for the level of annoyance in the first half of the book. And the sexual tension between secondary characters Amy and Matt jumps off the page - those glimpses made me look forward to their story (which just happened to be the next book in the series - see below).

At Last 
(Book #5 in the Lucky Harbor Series)
Jill Shalvis
Published June 26, 2012
400 pages
At Last is book #5 in the Lucky Harbor series (or really #2 of Lucky Harbor take 2) and  is definitely one of the best and absolutely the most serious of the bunch so far- this is not as light and fluffy as some of the others in the series have been. Shalvis is really good at writing intense, flawed characters that remain likable. Amy and Matt are two of the best of them. As I mentioned in the review of Lucky In Love, their chemistry jumps off the page whenever they are in the same room. They are both really warm, generous people who have had unhappy pasts causing security issues now. At first, you really only see Amy's issues, but then BAM! Matt's history rears up causing trouble as well. Even though you know things will work out because it is, above all, a romance novel, but things get a little murky for a while. That bit of doubt only adds to the gravity of the story. After the abundance of annoying characters and the frustration they caused in the last Lucky Harbor novel, I was really happy this one hardly mentioned the meddling townspeople at all. A great addition to the Lucky Harbor series, I can't wait to read Josh and Grace's story next!

Lucky In Love: 3.5/5 stars.
At Last: 4.5/5 stars.  
Covers: 4/5 (both - they are practically the same cover)

Note: I received ecopies of both of these book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected the review content.

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