Pub Date: October 2010
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Hachette)
FTC: Purchased myself; giveaway copy courtesy of Hachette Book Group (details at the bottom of the post!)
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.There are a lot of authors who are known for their humorous romances. And while I'll sometimes turn to one of them to lift my mood, they are often some of the more shallow romances out there. But Jill Shalvis is one of the rare authors whose writing is incredibly funny AND moving. Whose characters are flawed, complex, and—perhaps rarest of all—believable.
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.
Simply Irresistible is the first in the Lucky Harbor novels set in Washington state about three sisters who, upon the death of their flighty mother, learn they have inherited a run down inn. There is the usual small town idealism, but it's tempered by the personal and professional turmoil the three sisters find themselves in.
Maddie Moore's nickname is The Mouse. She's known for being quiet, contained, self-effacing and clumsy. But I loved Maddie's clumsiness. Her lack of sophistication. And her incredibly bad luck in having Jax continue seeing her at her absolute worst. I winced in sympathy each time something embarrassing happened to her because I could see most of that happening to me. The situational humor was hysterically funny without being silly or forced. The type of thing you can picture family members relating for years to come at the annual family gathering tease-fest.
As wonderful as the family interaction between the sisters is in this book, I have to admit I really wasn't a fan of their recently deceased mother. There is no such thing as benign neglect, and lack of responsibility or conern for your kids isn't cute or acceptable to me. Hard hearted of me, perhaps, but it's a good thing she was already dead. I wouldn't have enjoyed the book nearly as much if she'd still be in the picture.
I love how reluctant this romance is. Maddie is coming down from a bad, abusive relationship and does not want to get involved. But a relationship with Jax just seems inevitable. She fights the good fight, but who could resist Jax? Honestly. The man is sigh worthy. He is patient, has a terrific sense of humor, is modest, generous, and super sexy.
But Maddie fights the chemistry for all she's worth:
"You don't want chemistry with me," she said. "I have... faults."
"Like you can't hold your liquor?"
"Ha. And no. I mean..." She searched for something suitably off-putting. "I'm twenty-nine, and I keep a flashlight on me just in case I need to hold the closet monsters at bay. I can't let food touch on my plate, everything has to have its own quadrant. And my go-to movie is The Sound of Music. I can sing every song." There. Didn't get more embarrassing than that. But just in case, she added one more. "I can also burp the alphabet. I won an award for it in college, and sometimes when I'm alone, I practice in the mirror."
"The whole alphabet?"
"Yeah, so it's for the best that we don't...you know."
"You're right. The Sound of Music thing is totally a deal-breaker. Thankfully we have no chemistry at all." He was teasing her, but when she met his gaze, he wasn't smiling. Nope. His eyes were lit with something else entirely, and it wasn't humor.
And she knew something else, too. She hadn't scared him off. Not even a little.
Simply Irresistible is everything wonderful about contemporary romance. It has heart, warmth, humor, and genuine characters you can't help but root for. I am now impatiently waiting for the next installment in the Lucky Harbor series—which doesn't come out until April.
You can get your Jill Shalvis fix at the following bookstores: Booksamillion, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Borders or order it through your local indie bookstore.
*On an unrelated note, I don't think this cover does the book justice. It's very...blah. I'm not sure what I would have preferred, but this book deserved a better cover.
My Grade: A-
The good folks at Hachette Book Group and Grand Central Publishing sent me a review copy of Simply Irresistible. I had already purchased my copy because I just couldn't wait! So I have a brand new copy, courtesy of the publisher, to give away to a lucky commenter. All you have to do is leave a comment below. It's that easy.
The giveaway is open to US residents only (due to postage concerns). It ends at Midnight, October 31st. Winner will be posted on the blog on November 1st. You can leave either your email address in the post or your Twitter handle for me to contact you. Otherwise check back here to see if you've won.