Jill Shalvis is a favorite contemporary romance writer, and last year the first three books in the Lucky Harbor series turned out to be favorite contemporary romance reads for me. It is no surprise then that I was really looking forward to reading the continuation of this series in 2012.
In Lucky in Love Mallory Quinn is encouraged to meet Mr. Wrong so she can break out of a "good girl" role that hasn't worked out for her in the past. Mysterious Cute Guy, or Ty Garrison, fits that role perfectly as far as everyone is concerned and of course he makes his entrance with drama and flair. Mallory proceeds to do the bad girl act and pretty quickly their affair progresses to the point where mutual feelings are deeper than planned, so that the superficial relationship that began with such heat and promise is no longer satisfying for them. Ty has baggage from his experience in the military that prevents him from making a commitment, and Mallory has her own past guilts and experiences that helped her evolve into the woman she is, a pleaser and a good, all around caring woman.
I enjoyed this romance, just as I usually enjoy Jill Shalvis' contemporary romances. Lucky in Love has the usual sizzle between the main protagonists and the likable characters. Shalvis deals with PTSD to a certain extent in this installment, but it is not an in-depth look into the issue and it is resolved lightly. Lucky Harbor is a wonderful place with secondary characters that are well known by now and I look forward to meeting them again on the page. What really didn't work for me in this installment was the relationship between the three women. That friendship formed rather quickly so that the intimacy between the women felt forced and lacking. It lacked the push and pull that we experienced between sisters Maddie, Tara and Chloe, the emotional attachment, love and yes, real intimacy. So, although the romance was enjoyable, in many ways this ended up being an average read for me. Grade: C+
At Last is interesting in that it features parallel a storyline between the baggage that Amy carries from her youth as a runaway and a young girl who Amy takes under her wing. The romance between Matt and Amy is something else altogether. Matt is sweet and hot! But Amy is a tough cookie with lots of trust issues that she just can't seem to shed. More than once her judgment leaves a lot to be desired in this story, and I never quite warmed up to Amy even when she showed her vulnerable side.
The residents of Lucky Harbor once again make this story worth reading, but this installment is missing some of those amusing moments that I so look forward to and there is really almost no build up for Grace's story. Grace Brooks is not a character that draws me so that there is no real excitement and no need for me to rush and read Forever and a Day. Maybe later? Grade: C
In conclusion, I don't have strong objections to Lucky in Love nor At Last and although neither book made a lasting impression on me, as always Jill Shalvis includes likable characters and some pretty steamy scenes in both stories. I enjoyed these reads as more or less average contemporary romances and recommend them as such.
Category: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lucky Harbor
Publisher/Release Date: Forever/May 2012 & June 2012
Simply Irresistible #1
The Sweetest Thing #2
Head Over Heels #3
Lucky in Love #4
At Last #5
Forever and a Day #6