Review: It Had To Be You by Jill Shalvis (Lucky Harbor #7)
May 28 2013
Mass Market Paperback
Grand Central Publishing
Received from publisher via NetGalley
Yummy Man – Luke Hanover
Kick Ass Chick – Ali Winters
From Goodreads –
Ali Winters is not having a good day. Her boyfriend left her, everyone in town thinks she’s a thief, and now she’s about to be kicked out of her home. Her only shot at keeping a roof over her head and clearing her name is to beg for help from a police detective who’s as sexy as he is stern….
After a high-profile case goes wrong, Luke Hanover returns to his hometown for some peace and quiet. Instead he finds a bombshell brunette in a heap of trouble. As he helps Ali put her world back together, the pieces of Luke’s own life finally seem to fall into place. Is this the start of a sizzling fling? Or are Luke and Ali on the brink of something big in a little town called Lucky Harbor?
It Had To Be You is the seventh book in Jill Shalvis’ charming Lucky Harbor series. This is such a sweet contemporary romance series – every single book leaves a smile on my face. The characters are just delightful and the setting is like a character all its own. And the side characters are as memorable as the main couple. It really is a series worth checking out.
In It Had To Be You we tag along as Ali meets Luke. Contemporary romance books often have cute “meet-cutes” but the one in this book is extra cute. Right away, I knew I would love these two. They are both the sort of people who want to make everyone happy – even if it is at their own expense – and who blame themselves for things that really aren’t their fault. I liked how they didn’t tell the other person over and over that they weren’t responsible and that they are better than that and blah blah blah. They were support for each other. A quiet companion there to help the other feel stronger and special. They really are sweet together. You have the man who thinks he is absolutely the worst for anyone right now and wants to steer away from a relationship but is ultimately blindsided by love. And you have the girl who feels like she’s not good enough yet is one of the kindest souls you would ever meet.
Am I getting a bit ahead of myself? I believe I am… Here, let’s discuss the characters separately for a moment.
Ali didn’t have the best upbringing. She comes from a loving family made up of her mother and her sister but they are a bit clueless. She pretty much had to be the ‘grown-up’ while her mother and sister were off chasing their latest wants. She has been in Lucky Harbor for the past few years, looking for a clean start. She works at the local flower shop and volunteers at the senior center. She has dreams and plans but unfortunately, nothing ever really pans out for her. But she doesn’t let it get her down. I loved that about her. Really, if you think you are having a bad week, triple it and you have Ali’s life lately. Yet she doesn’t dwell on crap or become an annoying whiny baby. She still looks out for everyone else and keeps her head held high. She has such a strong positive character it’s no wonder everyone in town loves her. And no wonder Luke fell for her almost immediately even though he tried to convince himself otherwise.
Luke is a detective in San Francisco. His last case involving a US Senator ended badly and he feels to blame for everything that went wrong. Feeling he needs to escape, he heads to Lucky Harbor to the beach house his grand-mother left him when she died. He pretty much grew up there yet he has not been back there in ten years. I did feel as though Luke’s character was a bit heavy at times and his blaming himself for everything got a bit much but it was never so much that it severely hindered the story for me. I loved how Luke was instantly protective of Ali. I loved how instantly comfortable they were with each other – as though they have known each other for ever. Luke and Ali’s relationship has such a natural feel and progression.
Jill writes her Lucky Harbor series in threes. The first three books were about three sisters meeting their HEA. The next three were about three female friends who bond over chocolate. We watched them meet their HEA in books four through six. Books seven, eight and nine will follow three male best friends as they meet their HEAs. We meet two of the three friends in It Had To Be You but we hear about the third. Friend one is Luke, of course, and friend two is Jack. I think I’m already halfway in love with him. His best gal friend is Rachel and yup, she is going to be his HEA in the next book Always On My Mind which releases too far away from now (a.k.a. October 2013). This the first time Jill is going to tackle best friends to lovers in this series. I love those storylines and I know Jill will do a fabulous job of it.
Jill did something very different in this latest installment. Not only did her story focus on the main couple but she also threw in a little mystery for us to follow. It was really well done. Ali is accused of stealing donation money by her slimeball ex. And we get to watch Luke try to solve it with her. *dreamy sigh* They really are a delightful couple. I was very surprised at who ended up being responsible for the theft which is a good thing.
Overall, I really enjoyed It Had To Be You. Jill is a master at writing this genre. I think she could write about monkeys falling in love and it would be amazing. But she didn’t write about monkeys. She wrote about Luke and Ali and she did a fabulous job of it.
Giggle worthy quote –
“He nodded. ‘You’re fierce as hell, you know that? Remind m to never get on your bad side.’
‘Not that that’s a real worry, since you’re leaving. Right?’
He looked at her for another long beat. ‘Ali – ‘
‘Nope.’ She shook her head and started inside the house. ‘Sorry, I’ve gotta –
He caught her hand and pulled her back around.
‘Look,’ she said, ‘you’re the long wolf. I get it. And also, I’m sorry I hit on you last night’. She grimaced. ‘And all the time. I know how awkward it must be to have to constantly fight me off.’
His sharp, blue eyes never wavered from her face. ‘Not what I was going to say.’
‘No. And I’m not fighting you off. What I’m fighting off is my urge to toss you down to the grass right here and show you who wants who.’
Her girlie parts perked right up. Stupid girlie parts.”