Early Review: Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis (Lucky Harbor #8)
September 24 2013
Mass Market Paperback
Grand Central Publishing
Received from publisher via NetGalley
Yummy Man – Jack Harper
Kick Ass Chick – Leah Sullivan
From Goodreads –
After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack’s ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib – that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle . . .
No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine – perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their “just friends” rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?
Always on my Mind is the eighth installment in Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series. This is absolutely one of my favorite contemporary romance series. It’s sweet and charming and warms your heart – each and every installment. Jill writes friendships very well and she writes ‘small town’ well too. The town is pretty much a character in these books, bringing a sense of cohesiveness to these books even though the series is basically made up of three trilogies.
This time around we follow Jack and Leah. Jack and Leah met back in high school. Even though Leah is a couple of years younger than Jack, they hit it off forming a strong friendship. Leah’s childhood was tough and Jack was a source of comfort for her. They never dated, just became best friends. And even though Leah has left Lucky Harbor and returned on a few occasions, their friendship has survived, almost growing deeper as they got older.
I love the ‘friend to lover’ idea for a story and this is the first time Jill has tackled it in this series. I love it when (usually) the guy suddenly notices how hot his friend is. That sort of happened in this book too and it managed to make me giggle like it always does when I read it. But the part of the story that made me giggle the most was when Leah told Jack’s mother that they were a couple…without letting Jack in on her lie. Jack’s reaction was priceless.
I enjoyed both Jack and Leah and found they made a fine couple but I have to admit there was just something that didn’t make me completely fall in love with either of them. They were nice, witty, went really well together and got along great with their friends. I just didn’t feel as strong as a click with these two as I have the other couples in the series. Jack is a firefighter and is trying to live up to his dad’s legend and Leah’s mom is odd and Leah was recently on a baking reality show which embarrasses her to no end. These issues were brought up quite often but I just didn’t feel as bothered by them as I was probably supposed to. But even though I didn’t quite feel the adoration (I felt strong like but not adoration) Jack and Leah were still wonderful characters and knowing I will see them in the next book isn’t upsetting me.
One thing I really enjoyed in this book was Kevin. I am not a dog person, but Jill is. She often writes dogs into her stories…and I don’t mind. She writes them so well that they sometimes overshadow the main character in some scenes. And her dogs are fun-ny! Kevin is a giant Great Dane and he is Jack’s dog. He was an excellent character and helped make light and fun scenes even funnier. I was glad he was in this book, and that is saying something seeing as I am not often a fan of pets as major-ish character in what I read.
Again, as in the last intallment, Jill adds a bit of a mystery sub-plot to the book. This one involves suspicious fires that are being set across the town. Being a firefighter, Jack is in the thick of things. Who is responsible for the fires came out of nowhere, which is a good thing, but I never quite understood this person’s motivation.
Overall, even though Always on my Mind was not my favorite Lucky Harbor book, I still enjoyed it immensely. I really look forward to any new book in this series as they are just lovely. Ben and Aubrey are up next in Once in a Lifetime (hitting shelves February 11th 2014). Ben is a bit of a mystery and Aubrey…well let’s just say that as of now I am not really an Aubrey fan. But there was very strong chemistry between these two in Always on my Mind and I’m sure once we learn the why behind Aubrey’s behavior, she’ll be a better person for me. Looking forward to seeing what Jill does with those two.
Books in the Lucky Harbor series –
The Sweetest Thing
Head Over Heels
Lucky In Love
Forever and a Day
It Had to Be You
Always on my Mind
Once in a Lifetime (2014)