New book by a favorite author

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ABOUT ALMOST JUST FRIENDS (a standalone Wildstone novel)

Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

EXCERPT:

“I was very clear,” she said when the alcohol burn cleared her throat, eyeing the whole group, most of whom were also first responders and worked with her at the station or hospital in one form or another. “We weren’t going to mention my birthday, much less sing to me about it. Twice.”

Not a single one of them looked guilty. “To Piper,” Ryland said, and everyone raised a glass. “For gathering and keeping all us misfits together and sane.”

“To Piper,” everyone cheered, then, thankfully, conversations started up all around her so that she was finally no longer the center of attention. Everyone was well versed in her ways, which meant they got that while she was touched that they cared, she didn’t want any more attention. Easily accepting that, they were happy to enjoy the night and leave her alone.

“So, did that hurt?” Jenna asked, amused.

“What?”

“Being loved?”

In tune to the sounds of the bar around them—someone singing off-key to “Sweet Home Alabama,” rambunctious laughter from a nearby table, the clink of pool balls—Piper rolled her eyes.

“You know one day those eyeballs are going to fall right out of your head, right?”

Ignoring this, Piper went back to what she’d been doing before being so rudely interrupted by all the love. Making a list. She was big on bullet journaling. She’d had to be. Making notes and lists had saved her life more than once. And yes, she knew she could do it all on a notes app on her phone instead, but her brain wasn’t wired that way. Nope, she had to do everything the hard way and write that shit down by hand like in the Dark Ages. She flipped through some of her pages: Calendars, Grocery Lists, Future Baby Names (even though she didn’t plan on having babies), Passwords (okay, password, singular, since she always used the same one—CookiesAreLife123!).

And then there were some random entries:

Life Rules

  • Occasionally maybe make an effort to look nice.
  • Don’t cut your own bangs no matter how sad you are.
  • Never ever, EVER, under any circumstances fall in love.

 

She also had a bucket list of wishes. Oh, and a secret secret bucket list of wishes . . .

Yeah, she clearly needed help. Or a little pill.

“New journal?” Jenna asked.

“Maybe.” Piper’s vices were simple. Basically, she was an office supply ho—a never-ending source of amusement to Jenna, because Piper was also a bit of a hot mess when it came to organization and neatness. Her purse, her car, her office, and also her kitchen always looked like a a disaster had just hit. But her journals . . . those were pristine.

“How many journals have you started and either lost or misplaced since I’ve known you—a million?”

Piper didn’t answer this on the grounds that she might incriminate herself.

Jenna pulled out the pack of stickers that were tucked into the journal. They were cute little thought bubbles with reminders like doc appointment, empty dishwasher, and caffeinate.

“I feel like stickers are cheating,” Jenna said.

“Bite your tongue, woman. Stickers are everything.” So were pens. And cute paper clips. And sticky notes . . .

“Come on. There’re far more important things than stickers.”

“Like?” Piper asked.

“Like food.”

“Okay, you’ve got me there.”

“And sex,” Jenna said. “And that should go above food, actually.”

“I’m going to take your word on that since it’s been a while.”

“Well, whose fault is that?” Jenna leaned in, trying to get a peek. “What’s today’s entry?”

“A list for figuring out what’s next on fixing up the property.” Piper and her siblings had inherited from their grandparents a house and some cottages on Rainbow Lake. “It still needs a lot of work. I’m in way over my head.”

“I know.” Jenna’s smile faded. “I hate that you’re going to sell and move away from Wildstone.”

Wildstone, California, was Piper’s hometown. Sort of. She’d moved here at age thirteen with her two younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, to be raised by their grandparents. But in the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.

And hers could finally start.

From Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis, published by William Morrow. Copyright © 2020 by Jill Shalvis. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollinsPublishers https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062897800/almost-just-friends/

 

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ABOUT JILL SHALVIS

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill

Website: http://jillshalvis.com/

Facebook: @JillShalvis

Twitter: @JillShalvis

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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jillshalvis/

Tumblr: http://jillshalvis.tumblr.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22370.Jill_Shalvis?from_search=true

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Holiday Wishes review

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Jill Shalvis gives us another installment about a delightful group of friends. In Holiday Wishes, bad boy Sean O’Riley is in charge of his brother’s bachelor weekend. For once in his life, he wants to avoid screwing up. He owes it to his brother to make all the details perfect.

Being California, weather throws a monkey wrench into his plans. Fortunately, his first love happens to be running the B&B where the event is scheduled.

Her love life has gone off the rails and the last thing she needs is this blast from the past. Or so she says.

This Heartbreaker Bay story is novella length, so you will have no trouble fitting it in between shopping, cooking, and merry-making. Give yourself a wee gift. You deserve it.

 

Lost and Found Sisters book review

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What if everything you knew about yourself wasn’t true?

Ever since she lost her sister, Quinn Weller has been in a rut. She goes to the same coffee shop every day and buys the same beverage. She’s avoiding her parents and her long-time boyfriend.

Then one day in the coffee line, the man behind her breaks some news that turns her world upside down. Turns out she was adopted as an infant, and the mother she never knew has left her an inheritance. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but it is filled with Shalvis’ trademark humor and heart.

The story is set in a small town that is struggling economically, much like the town I write about in my books. The populace is plenty quirky. That’s a given with small towns, isn’t it? I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Quinn and her frenemy.

Quinn makes the journey away from numbness with the help of a man who is rescuing his mom and the town in spite of himself, a newly-discovered teenage sister, and a stray cat.

This book teeters between romance and women’s fiction. If you are into either of those genres, give it a try.

 

One Snowy Night book review

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I had read and enjoyed the previous Heartbreaker Bay book by Jill Shalvis, so I was eager to read her novella One Snowy Night.

I’m working on book two of my own series and  trying to read more books set in small towns.  Even though the Heartbreaker Bay series is set in San Francisco, its close-knit cast of characters make it function like a little town. They all know each other’s secrets and have each other’s backs.

The couple in this one went to high school together, but their paths hadn’t crossed again until Rory came to work for a dog groomer near Max’s office. He’s heading home to Tahoe and. at her boss’ behest, insists she ride with him rather than take multiple buses and trains on Christmas Eve. She’s desperate to keep her promise to go home for the first time in years, but the weather isn’t cooperating.

Like the first book, this one includes a big, lovable dog, breezy writing, and good-at-heart people.

A nice Christmas present.

Sweet Little Lies book review

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Jill Shalvis has launched a new series called Heartbreaker Bay set in San Francisco. Book one takes place in an Irish pub reminiscent of the old Cheers TV series. The inhabitants of nearby businesses form a tight knit clique, and camaraderie abounds.

Although the plot centers around the results of a long ago drunk driving accident, the tone is actually  lighthearted.The dialogue is snappy and some of the scenes are comic genius.

Pru and Finn are as appealing a couple as you will ever find. In fact, I loved all of the major and minor characters. And the dog. And the descriptions of a beautiful city. This one’s a winner.

 

One in a Million book review

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When I saw via live feed that Jill Shalvis won the 2015 RITA award for Contemporary Mid-Length Romance at the recent Romance Writers of America convention in New York City, I knew I had to read her book. One in a Million was, indeed, a winner.

The plot was not too revolutionary. Two people, each dumped by a previous love interest, are commitment-phobic.

The characters, however, are what made this book a delight for me. Callie is a lovable klutz whose business as a virtual wedding planner means receiving hilarious text messages from a series of panicky bridezillas. Tanner is a delicious alpha male, trying to learn how to be a dad to a teenage mini-me.

Callie’s social media savvy grandma leads the supporting cast with flair. As is often the case with books set in small towns, Lucky Harbor is also a character.

Callie’s two BFFs have their own earlier books. I have not read those yet. Is it important to read a series in order?