Thursday, February 23, 2017

Brief Thoughts: Sweet Little Lies

Sweet Little Lies

by Jill Shalvis
audiobook narrated by Karen White
Book 1 of Heartbreaker Bay

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

Choose the one guy you can’t have...

As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land.  Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.

Fall for him—hard...

Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends.  When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze.  But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone.  Fast.

And then tell him the truth...

Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire.  But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything.

I think one of things that Jill Shalvis excels in is creating a set of characters you come to love almost immediately, despite some of the flaws that come to happen over the course of the story (or series), as well as some of the stupid, frustrating things that said characters allow themselves to do.

Pru is absolutely a wonderful character, though she's a few Mother Theresa acts shy of becoming a standard Mary Sue.  If it weren't for some of her more realistic, down-to-earth charms, I'm not sure I would have been able to relate with her, nor fall for her.  But between her affection for her scaredy-cat dog, her quirky behavior around people, and a handful of moments that had me wincing in secondhand embarrassment for her, she came off so likable that I could almost forgive her for dragging out her conflict to the point of frustration.

And therein lies the one, biggest reason why this book wasn't a complete love for me.  The idea was great from page one, because it served as a vehicle for all sorts of delicious romantic angst to come.  Pru's little secret about her identity and her reasons for keeping said secret at the beginning was a great start to the story.  And as her relationship with Finn grew stronger and she continued to avoid telling him this truth, an almost predictable romantic trope wormed it's way to the surface.

And then about the fourth time she monologues about needing to tell Finn before their relationship got too far, and then changing her mind because she was too caught up in playing sexy times with him... well, their relationship was already at a pretty far level, and her wishy-washy avoidance started getting a bit frustrating.  Because we've all seen this story before in many other variations, and while I enjoyed it the first time around, I think I would have enjoyed it more in this particular book if something had turned out a little different.

But Finn's reaction to Pru's revelation was standard.  Pru's reaction to Finn's reaction was standard.  And then the reactions of their friends were also standard.  And so the whole climax of the story's main conflict somehow came off a bit anticlimactic.  Then, on top of that, the ending "Declarations of Love" scene kind of came off a bit tacky.

Don't get me wrong, the FEELS were still present.  I felt a pang for Pru--this formula is tried and true after all--I loved following the characters, and the witticisms and humor were standard Jill Shalvis fun.  But that doesn't mean it doesn't frustrate me.

Anyway, again I absolutely love the characters created in this first installment of a new series.  The crew of Heartbreaker Bay are fun, unique, and I very much look forward to the rest of their stories.  And also, I hope more animals are involved, because the presence of the little growly Thor just made this book so much sweeter!


I read this book for Romance Bingo 2017, the Guy/Girl Next Door square.

Other possible squares:
  • Blown Away -- The cover gives off a windy feel.
  • Love (Free Space)

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