Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review: Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis

Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 8
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance Always on My Mind Cover
Release Date: September 24, 2013
ISBN: 9781455521104
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Leah Sullivan and Jack Harper have always been best friends and each other’s favorite nemesis. But when things started to change between them, Leah took off, breaking Jack’s heart and her own in the process. Now Leah’s back in Lucky Harbor to help her grandmother run her bakery, and she can’t help but fantasize about the blazingly hot firefighter who was always there for her. But Leah finds herself in over her head when she tells a little white lie to cheer up Jack’s ailing mother. No one – especially not Jack – was supposed to find out that Leah said she and him were an item. Only you can’t keep secrets in Lucky Harbor, which means it’s not long before Leah and Jack are stuck playing pretend for the whole town. Except it doesn’t feel like pretend to either, which means that Leah has to decide if she’s willing to face the ghosts of her past and stay put in Lucky Harbor with Jack.

Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor books are always filled with humor and heart, and Always on My Mind is no exception. Ms. Shalvis takes the classic friends-to-lovers trope and turns it into something fresh and exciting.

Leah is a talented pastry chef whose father has done a number on her self-esteem. As such, she tends to not finish things and doesn’t like to stay put in one spot. Leah’s someone I’d love to have as a friend, were she real, and it was a joy to watch her fully come into herself over the course of Always on My Mind. As for Jack…well, Ms. Shalvis knows how to write one heck of a swoon-worthy hero. Jack’s charming nature keeps others from seeing the pain he hides. Having grown up in the shadow of his firefighter father who was killed in the line of duty, Jack has developed into someone who is constantly pushing himself to be something he’s not. Like Leah, Jack comes into his own in Always on My Mind. Character development aside, what truly delighted me about this book was the chemistry between Jack and Leah. The two of them make a great pair and it’s clear (though possibly not to them) that they were made for each other. It was easy for me to fall into this book because I liked Jack and Leah so much, both as individuals and as a couple. The road to happily ever after isn’t a smooth one for them, but Ms. Shalvis makes the journey worth it.

Always on My Mind is the eighth book in the Lucky Harbor series, but if you haven’t read any or all of the previous Lucky Harbor books, this one can be read as a standalone. Lucky Harbor fans will undoubtedly enjoy series favorites appearing, including Sheriff Sawyer Thompson of Head Over Heels, town gossip and Facebook-loving Lucille, and At Last supporting character (and hopefully future heroine) Riley. Leah and Jack’s best friends, Ali and Luke (of It Had to Be You), are strong supporting characters, and after seeing Aubrey and Ben, Always on My Mind left me more eager than ever to read the next Lucky Harbor story, Once in a Lifetime. And speaking of supporting characters, it’d be remiss of me to write about Jack and Leah’s story without mentioning Jack’s dog, Kevin, who steals every scene he’s in and is responsible for a good amount of the hilarity in Always on My Mind.

Always on My Mind is filled with love, friendship, sensuality, and fun. I absolutely adored Jack and Leah and I look forward to re-reading their story many, many times. Bring on Once in a Lifetime, because I can’t get enough of Lucky Harbor!