Title: Simply Irresistible (Lucky Harbor #1)
Author: Jill Shalvis
Published: October 2010 (Forever)
Summary: Maddie Moore's whole life needs a makeover. In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Starting over won't be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too. The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she's sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie's struggles to overcome the past, though she's about to discover that there's no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.
Simply Irresistible is the first in the Lucky Harbor series, one of my favorite discoveries of the year. It is not technically finished, as there are still books to be released (for which I'm super excited), but the books for the three sisters are all complete and released. Ergo, I feel like it's complete in the sense that the others will probably be more able to be read as standalones whereas the first three highlight the sisters' developing relationship and should be read in order (in my opinion). Simply Irresistible was just that: irresistible. I fell into the world of Maddie and her sisters, and I could not stop until I read the stories of all three sisters, each even better than the last.
Simply Irresistible is the story of Maddie. She is beginning a whole new life and moving to Lucky Harbor, escaping her abusive ex. Toward the beginning of the book, the attitude portrayed when mentioning that factor occasionally hovered on the brink of victim blaming, which set my teeth on edge. However, a lot of it was the character's own biases, and by the end, she had made enough progress to see the reality. It also was not a huge angst-generator, nor did it play a huge part in the plot, although it was never ignored. Shalvis achieved a nice balance with this.
I loved reading about Maddie and her sisters. All three of them are vastly different, and it was so interesting to get to know all of them. That much diversity, plus stress, obviously equals lots of tension and disagreements. I enjoyed reading about how the sisters learned to work together to achieve their goals. I also adored getting to know Jax and his long-time friends; they had such a fantastic relationship. I feel like I don't get enough true male friendship in the majority of the books I read, and it's nice to have it on occasion.
So many references I loved in this book! From Friends (my all-time favorite television show) to The Sound of Music (one of my Top 10 movies of all time), I enjoyed them all.
There was a lot of sex in this book. A lot. More than any of the next three in the series. I enjoyed them all, of course, but I will say that I felt there were probably about two too many. There were a couple that seemed like they were only there for the sake of being there, where a fade-to-black or even eliminating the scene altogether would really have been sufficient. On the other hand, there were several particularly well-written and super steamy scenes, too. And I picked up a new tip which I personally will probably never use but is an interesting idea to ponder. I will leave you wondering, though. You'll have to pick up the book to find out. ;) Or, you know, you can just ask; I'm happy to spread the joy.
I laughed a ton at this book! Shalvis just writes the perfect quips at just the right time, whether in the dialogue or the inner monologues of the characters. One of my favorite things about the book was that every chapter started out with a piece of wisdom the girls' mother left for them. They were often pretty hilarious.
I also made a note that I liked Shalvis's "witty clothes fixation." I do not remember what this means, exactly, but if you have any idea, shoot me a comment. I would like to remember this. Oh! Actually, I think I may have been referencing t-shirts with "witty" sayings on them and such. She did that with the aprons in Instant Attraction, and if I remember correctly, she did it in Simply Irresistible, too. Mystery solved!
Quotes of Awesomeness:
❝It looks like Laura Ingalls Wilder threw up in here.❞
❝Not a bad way to go, she figured - death by lust.❞
❝Look at that, she sounded cool, even smart-ass like. She'd always wanted to be a smart-ass.❞
❝Note to self: always choose sex over physical labor.❞
❝Being the strong female lead star of my own life is harder than I thought.❞
I enjoyed every moment of this book. Jax and Maddie had some serious singe-the-pages chemistry. It was great! If you are a fan of contemporary romance, I would definitely pick up this one (and the following two)!
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