Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Book Review: The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

Title: The Sweetest Thing
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: Book #2 in the Lucky Harbor series
Release Date: 28 March 2011
Number of pages: 348 pages
Publisher: Forever
Source: review copy provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Kindle store, Book Depository UK, Book Depository US

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer:

The Sweetest Thing - Book #2 in the Lucky Harbor series

Two 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
Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

My Thoughts: The Sweetest Thing is the second book in Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series and Tara's, the eldest sister's story. Though I loved Simply Irresistible the first book in the series and added Jill Shalvis to my autobuy authors' list I wasn't looking forward to Tara's book that much since she wasn't a character I grew to love in the previous book. She remained one of those a bit irritating a bit annoying know-it-all stubborn busybody characters and I wasn't too excited to read a novel where she was the heroine. Well it is testament to Jill Shalvis' writing and is her much deserved success that not only did I enjoy The Sweetest Thing and grew to love Tara, I will even say that I might even prefer this second book to Simply Irresistible!

In the first book we got to know the three sisters and as I already mentioned my impression of Tara was that she was a strong opinionated, stubborn and quite determined know-it-all big sister. (To be completely honest as a big sister myself that is not a rare combination *looks around innocently*) But in this book we got to discover the many hidden layers of Tara and what makes her the way she is. It was very surprising for me to see how hurt and vulnerable she is under her 'steel magnolia' façade, and these details, insecurities and guilt-ridden moments not only made her a more human and likable character but also one the reader and I could sympathize with and feel for.

The hero, Ford is dream-worthy. He is an ex-Olympic medal winner sailor and he retained his casual elegance and calm. That is until Tara gets under his skin and gets him all riled up :-D And well these two certainly know how to generate sparks! They have history and quite a lot of baggage, but the attraction they have between themselves can't and shouldn't be ignored. I loved how they constantly had this cat and mouse tug of war of repartee and wills, how Ford tried to be all nice and friendly and Tara froze him with her icy politeness. But once they give into the sizzling chemistry they turn up the heat:

She was in mid- heavenly sigh when she felt Ford shift close behind her, his mouth brushing her ear. “Moan through one more sample,” he warned in a thick husky whisper, “and I’m dragging you to the closest dark corner on the pier. And Tara?” His breath was warm against her skin, making her shiver. “By the time I’m done with you, you won’t remember your own name.”

After an eventful boyhood and youth, Ford has grown up to be a responsible and reliable man. The past experiences have shaped him and I loved the steady support he became:

“What I’m trying to say is that I’ll always be there for you, Tara. You need someone to help you, I’m your guy. You need a couple or three orgasms? I’m your personal toy. You need to let off some steam, someone to yell at, I’ll be your doormat."

The chuckle out humour in The Sweetest Thing was just as phenomenal and entertaining as in Simply Irresistible (if you haven't read any Jill Shalvis books yet you don't know what you are missing but here's a little taste):

“A conclusion is the place you get to when you’re tired of thinking.” Tara Daniels
“There's no snooze button on life.” Tara Daniels
Chloe came up behind them. “Hey, thought we were doing yoga this morning.”
“I get enough exercise just pushing my luck,” Tara said.
“Families are like fudge— mostly sweet with a few nuts.”

Despite being all big city girl and business woman, Tara is working as a cook in the diner and her sense of humour and character shone through the creative and funny recipes she created like the You're My Bun Muffins, Bottom of the Barrel Waffles, I Don't Give a Flip Blueberry Wheat Pancakes, etc. (you can find Tara's cookbook here).

Verdict: What really set The Sweetest Thing apart from the first story for me was the emotional depth and exploration of some darker and more serious matters, while peppering the story with the heroine's sarcastic humour. Besides making me laugh The Sweetest Thing also made my heart ache, but with the wonderful love story and the story of how three quite stranger young women grew to love each other and behave as true sisters, it is a story I wouldn't have missed for the world! The Sweetest Thing is a wonderful, funny and sexy story, a book and a series I can't recommend enough!

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Cover: 8/10

Buy it:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Books in the series:

Book #1 - Simply Irresistible (Maddie's story) - Read my review
Book #2 - The Sweetest Thing (Tara's story)
Book #3 - Head Over Heels (Chloe's story)

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