Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ARC Review: The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Series:     Heartbreaker Bay #2
Pub. Date:Sept. 27, 2016
Length:384 pages

I'm a bit surprised that this is my first read from Jill Shalvis. I have a ton of her books on my TBR list, but I don't see that any have actually made it onto my calendar yet. I met Jill at the RT Convention earlier this year and she was super sweet, so I'm glad I finally have one of her books under my belt and will be more apt to grab for one next time I get to pick something off my list. 

Soooo... on to the story. I felt a bit weird reading a Christmas story in September! Particularly when its 97 degrees here in New Orleans! I normally wait to read these in December, but maybe I will get in the mood a little early this year. The Trouble with Mistletoe definitely made me ready for some colder weather... and someone warm to snuggle up to!

Willa Davis is a bit crazy... crazy for animals, holidays and at-risk youth. She owns a cute-as-can-be pet shop called South Bark and, in this story, it looks like Father Christmas threw up in every corner of the shop. Willa had a troubled past, being in and out of the foster system from a young age. This has spurred her current penchant for collecting troubled stray girls and taking them under her wing. Willa thinks that she doesn't form lasting relationships, but the aforementioned strays and her close group of friends give lie to that assertion. When an unwelcome blast from Willa's past shows up in her shop, she has to realign her way of thinking. Willa was a sweet and quirky heroine... you really can't not like her with all her fawning over the animals and collecting troubled girls. She did struggle with her feelings quite a bit, and I would have liked to see her wrap those up a bit sooner and get down to the nitty gritty with our hero.

Keane Winters is a classic hot guy that we all want to warm up our winters. Architect and builder, restorer of beautiful houses, and just all around handy to have around the house (especially the bedroom). Keane is a good guy, helping out an aunt he barely knows in multiple ways... but mainly with the not-at-all macho job of keeping her devious cat, complete with bedazzled pink cat carrier. So Keane was a good guy, but in a manly works-with-his-hands way. I quite liked this fun and flirty hero... even if he is a little more of the good guy type than I normally go for. He knew what he wanted with Willa and he went after it, and tried to convince her that she wanted the same thing. His heart was every bit as big as Willa's, and they complemented each other well.

This was a sweet romance that moved along at a good pace. No instalove and no long, drawn-out angst. There was a decent amount of steam, but not enough to take it into erotic romance territory. I can see why Jill Shalvis is a go-to author for contemporary romance fans. Aside from the romance, I loved the close-knit friendships that surround Willa. The bonds between Willa, Ella, Pru, Archer, Spence, and the rest are definitely an example that family is made up of more than blood relatives. I am totally envious of this group as, having moved around so much, I don't have that "friend family" in my new location. Something to wish for this Christmas.

PS> I also really loved Petunia the cat... a/k/a PITA. Proof that cats are a little bit evil. No way that I could deal with getting out of bed and stepping in warm cat yak!

I would recommend this book to contemporary and holiday romance fans. It's a feel-good story with a good amount of holiday detail to put you in the Christmas spirit. I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars / 2 flames.

You know you have a pair of willpower panties!