The Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis has drawn to a close *sob*. Well to be honest it actually ended last October but I'm just getting over my denial about the whole thing and read the final three. While I'm sad to say goodbye to Lucky Harbor I loved meeting these characters.
For starters, I absolutely love how Shalvis did this series. I've read any number of long running series where all the books are very connected and every single character makes and obligatory appearance. By the last few I spend most of the book trying to remember who Joe and Jane are and what book they're from and how they're connected to Mary and Steve. Instead Shalvis broke the series up into loosely connected trilogies. With each trilogy we get a fresh set of characters and while we may see characters from a previous trilogy (like Sheriff Sawyer from book #3 may pull over a character from book #7 for speeding or something else reckless or characters from book #9 may go into the bar owned by Jax from book #1) you don't actually have to keep track of everyone but it's still building a sense of community for the reader. Seriously, it's brilliant.
In this trilogy we meet Sam, Cole, and Tanner. Long time friends who have been together through thick and thin with a good dash of tragedy. Along the way we also meet Becca Thorpe, Olivia Bentley, and Callie Sharpe. All three women come very different backgrounds and have very different stories to tell and it's such fun to watch everything come together.
First up is Sam and Becca in It's In His Kiss. It's hard not to like Becca. She's so enthusiastic and just generally kind that it's easy to see why Sam is immediately drawn in. He's a fixer by nature and is always the one in charge. Cole and Tanner both tend to look to him for direction. Becca and Sam are both used to taking care of others and it was nice to watch them start to lean on each other even though they both kept their secrets far too long.
It was absolutely lovely watching Becca become at home at Lucky Harbor and with how touched she was by the acceptance of the residents. I loved how Sam really tried to see the value of herself for what she was doing NOW versus some past image.
I did wish they had both shared their issues earlier but it didn't affect my enjoyment of this book and I still got a little misty-eyed at the end. Plus, we get introduced to the very mysterious Olivia and I can't wait to read her and Cole's story. 4 Stars
He's So Fine did not disappoint. Olivia was the real star of this book. She's tough and independent and absolutely does not like to ask for help. She's impulsive and behind her tough exterior has a really soft hard and can't resist running to the rescue. Watching their relationship grow is lots of fun - especially given Olivia's complete denial that it's happening. I'm normally not a big fan of major secret keeping or extreme reactions but it really worked in this case. Given Olivia's past and those who surrounded her it made total sense as to why she wouldn't share. Not because she's actively hiding it from Cole but more because she's focusing on the present and trying to forget the past entirely. Cole does have an over the top reaction towards the end but it also fits with his personality and his past. We see more of Tanner in this one which I liked as he seems like an interesting character and we meet Callie - granddaughter of the famous Lucille. I'm glad I have the next book because I can't wait to get started! 4 Stars
One in a Million by Jill Shalvis
If the Lucky Harbor has to end what better way to end than with Lucille's granddaughter? Lucille has been one of the few characters that has appeared in every book and she's definitely one of the most memorable residents of Lucky Harbor. However, we don't really get to know Lucille outside her outrageous antics. I loved watching Callie and Lucille interact and Lucille gets her own love story which is really wonderful. It took me a little longer to warm to Callie and Tanner. Between Callie's cringe worthy clumsiness and Tanner's problems with his son Troy. However, once the book started going I was sucked in as usual. The world of Lucky Harbor is vividly painted and it was such fun to spend some time in Leah's bakery. I really enjoyed watching the relationship between Callie and Troy grow and thought his interaction with Lucille was especially sweet. For the most part I really liked Callie and Tanner together and I really liked getting to know Tanner better. However, towards the end Callie's behavior really started to get on my nerves. She never communicates with Tanner at all about how she feels and then gets sulky when he doesn't respond the way she wants him to. The last scene in the kitchen more than made up for it though. 4 Stars
It's hard to say which was my favorite trilogy of this series though I'm leaning towards books 4, 5, and 6. I'm sorry to say goodbye to Lucille and all the rest but I'm looking forward to starting Shalvis's new series and catching up with her Animal Magnetism series.
If you enjoy a good contemporary romance don't let the number 12 scare you. With the way the series is set up just pick whichever book appeals to you and you won't have any problem catching up and if you enjoy your visit to Lucky Harbor half as much as I enjoyed mine you won't regret it!