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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

One in a Million by Jill Shalvis

Guys, I'm so sad! This is the LAST Lucky Harbor! The good news tho, is the Lucky Harbor is going out on a high note, unlike some other series (*cough*Fool'sGold*cough*) and not dragging on to a sad end.  I loved all of Lucky Harbor, but I think these last three were the best.

Here's the summary for One in a Million:


As the brains behind wedding site, Callie sees it all: from the ring to the dress, the smiles . . . to the tears. It's that last part that keeps her single and not looking. Getting left at the altar will do that to a girl. But when Callie returns to her old hometown, she finds that her sweet high school crush is sexier than ever. And he makes it hard to remember why she's sworn off love . . .

Tanner is a deep-sea diver with a wild, adrenaline-junkie past-and now his teenage son is back in his life. How can Tanner be a role model when he's still paying for his own mistakes? It's hard enough that gorgeous Callie has appeared in town like a beautiful dream, challenging his best-laid plans to keep his heart on lockdown. Though there's something about being around her again that makes him feel like he can be the man she-and his son-deserve. Little Lucky Harbor holds their past; can it hold a beautiful new future?

First of all, as a whole, Lucky Harbor is pretty unbelievable. I mean really?  SO many hot guys! But Shalvis is aware of this. She even pokes fun at it, unlike other small towns that just keep adding all these unrealistic characters with high profile jobs. I live in a small town and we barely have a hospital, let alone a burn unit and a sports rehab and a spy training camp and and and... where was I? Ah yes, my love of Lucky Harbor. Honestly, this is a series that I could see myself reading again, should I ever have time to reread 12 books.

In specific, Callie and Tanner were pretty sweet. Callie had a huge crush on Tanner in high school and figures he doesn't even remember her. It's adorable watching her realize that he knows exactly who she is, without any unbelievable bit about return feelings back then. I enjoyed the unevenness of them both knowing about the crush, and felt Shalvis took the tension from that just far enough.  Callie is determined to never fall in love, she's been jilted once and she just doesn't believe it can happen, but she's pretty quick to fall back into her crush.  It takes her longer than it should to actually realize that love is possible and feels more like a plot flaw than something believable. Being left at the alter IS a big deal, but this "insecurity" isn't strongly reinforced by the rest of the book.

Tanner is wonderful. Of course, why wouldn't he be?! More and more I find that romance novel heroes rarely have real flaws. They are never insecure or unattractive and even if they have some horrible past, the most  this will affect them will be in being commitment shy.  Tanner is very quiet about his feelings, but he's able to admit to himself that he would like a little more than what Callie is giving. He has a teenage son who has recently come to live with him, and while he doesn't know how to parent, he sure does get everything right there- toes the line when it matters, and lets it go when it doesn't. The relationship between Tanner and his son starts off very strained, but is pulled around in a mostly satisfying manner. Tanner really doesn't fail at anything, which is nice for reading, but perhaps strains credibility a bit (I can hear a non-romance readers reaction to this sort of character, and my hackles are already up!)

It sounds as if I didn't really enjoy this one, and of these last three is probably is my least favorite, but overall I really did like it. I flew through it in a matter of days and am so sad to see it end. Lucille, of course, is front and center keeping up with her old antics. Callie is her granddaughter and is there to keep an eye on her, but Lucille does what Lucille wants. The actually falling in love parts are so sweet and honest, and you really do believe in their feelings for each other. If you're looking for a nice strong author for contemporary romance, Shalvis would be my first choice. I'd try to read each "set" of three in order, but it's not necessary to read all 12 in order. You see the other characters occasionally, but they don't play a big role in the other sets. (Lucky Harbor is 12 books broken down into four 3 book sets of connecting characters.)

One in a Million will be published on October 14th.

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