Serendipity by Carly Phillips | Book Review

Serendipity by Carly Phillips  | Book ReviewSerendipity by Carly Phillips
Published by Berkley on 2011
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
two-stars

 

 

 

 

Ethan and Faith had a moment in high school but it never went anywhere. Now, many years later, they both are back in town and are in very different situations than they used to be. Faith’s father was brought down after swindling a lot of people out of money and Faith’s family’s fall from grace and wealth has her starting over but the people in the town don’t make that easy. Ethan has become incredibly successful and he’s back to redeem himself to his brothers who definitely are NOT happy to see him. Ethan and Faith reconnect as they both are looking to rebuild themselves in the town that knows all their history but their connection threatens to unravel what they are trying to rebuild.

Hmmm. I was doing so well with romp through the adult romance genre thus far until this one. Betty and I decided to read it together (check out her thoughts) and I probably would have put it down had it not been for that. At least we had some SUPER entertaining texts about it? Even though the cover, in all its Pepto Bismol glory, looked a bit cheesy I had HOPED it would in fact contain a romance that would make me swoon or at least make me throw my panties in the aiiiiir like I just don’t care? I mean there WAS a man on a motorcycle on the cover. But alas, Serendipity did not. It got a little better in the end, when I just kind of ignored those things, but overall I just thought it was okay.

The romance didn’t do anything for me. At all. And it’s a romance novel so it should probably make me feel something, yeah? It really didn’t. It was rather bland for me and just never made me FEEL anything. I liked the idea of it — the rich girl whose family falls from grace and she has to start over and the boy that screwed up and has no climbed his way up and is looking for redemption. Throw in the fact that they had unfinished business from high school and it sounds like a killer plot! I really liked it in theory but I just never FELT anything about it for the most part. It had its moments but overall the romance was a tad cheesy and not my thing. Just glancing on Goodreads I seem to be in the HUGE minority but that’s how I felt.

There was an interesting thread introduced into the story that actually was quite refreshing and heartwarming once I got over how eyerolly the circumstance was. That was the thread of the story that was most interesting to me and kept me from not putting it down. Ethan’s sister, who he didn’t know he had, is introduced into the story and it was SUCH a good storyline but the WAY she was introduced annoyed me — so unbelievable. I really enjoyed Tess’s storyline — she was rebellious and seemingly bratty and was getting into a lot of trouble. I loved her relationship with EVERYONE pretty much. Tess and Ethan especially. The video game scene. THE BEST. I loved how Faith and Tess bond. And I found it HILARIOUS how Tess interacts with the other brothers. Tess was, by far and away, the best part of this book.

The ending kind of bothered me — yeah, it wrapped up, but it did so rather abruptly and really shifted into the perspective for the next novel — one of Ethan’s brothers. It was a little awkward to me. I won’t be running to pick up the next book but I may pick up another in the series just to see if it was in fact this romance itself or if perhaps I’m not into this author’s books. I may try another one of her books outside of this series just for good measure but we will see!

Serendipity was a bit lackluster for me — I loved the idea of the romance presented but it never quite made me feel anything. I didn’t fall for Ethan like Faith, and most other readers, seemed to. I liked his story and I liked Faith’s story but their romance never clicked for me and plus sometimes it was uber cheesy. The Tess storyline that was woven in was the redeeming aspect of this book for me, despite how ridiculous her entry into the story seemed to me, and kept me reading. This book was just okay for me. It has a very high rating on Goodreads so maybe more seasoned romance readers loved it and maybe you will too — it just was not my favorite.

Serendipity by Carly Phillps

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Have you heard of it? What did you think if you’ve read it? Have you read any of her other books that maybe I’d like better? I’m really curious about the rest of the series but the next book features the brother I didn’t like.

name

two-stars

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis | Book Review

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis | Book ReviewSimply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor #1
Published by Forever on 2010
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
three-half-stars

 

 

 

Maddie has just broken up with her boyfriend and lost her job and she’s had it. She’s ready to leave and she does — she heads to the town of Lucky Harbor, a town on the coast of Washington, and deals with the inheritance her mother left she and her half-sisters. When they arrive in Lucky Harbor, after not seeing each other for years, they find out what they have inherited is an inn that is nearly falling apart. Maddie has nothing to lose at this point and sees a new start for herself in Lucky Harbor if she could fix the inn up but her halfsisters just want to sell the inn and be done with it and get back to their lives. She knows it will be a hard sell because the inn is a mess but she tries to persuade them to be a part of this with her. When she hires a contractor to help fix up the inn, she doesn’t realize he comes in the form of the completely hot guy she ran into on her first day into town. Having sworn off men, she tries to keep her distance from him but finds that to be impossible with him around all the time.

I read Simply Irresistible as part of my Courting the Romance Genre challenge for myself. It’s a series SO many of my friends have raved about (namely Ginger being the biggest pusher of this series!). You can read my general impression of adult romance and my experience here but I wanted to save specific book details for my review!

The verdict? I really liked Simply Irresistible. I can’t say it was a favorite but it was super fun and enjoyable and a good contemporary romance to help my romance novel adverse self into the genre. It was steamy (this is coming from someone who has never read a single romance novel so I was NOT prepared for the sexytimes because even the steamiest YA didn’t quite compare) but it wasn’t just sex — there was a ton of story and character development in addition to the romance. I liked that a lot because those are the things that I need in a book — as much as I love romance it can’t just be sex for me.

Simply Irresistible was a lot about sisterhood and I loved that. The sister’s (they are half-sisters) aren’t particularly close and they are so different but they come back together after their mother dies and they are trying to settle her affairs. I loved watching them open up to each other and REALLY get to know each other as they also learned more about their mom. They made me laugh, made me tear up a little bit and made me incredibly grateful for my own 3 sisters. I also love the strength they gained from each other — especially Maddie. As much as this story has to do with sisterhood, it also has a lot to do with picking yourself up after things fall apart and things DEFINITELY have fallen apart for Maddie. When she comes to Lucky Harbor she really has nothing left to lose but she ends up gaining a lot that she wouldn’t WANT to lose. Nobody SAVES Maddie at the end of the day but she draws strength from her sister and a certain hottie tottie male — Jax!

So obviously we have to talk about the romance because, well, this IS a romance novel! I really loved the romance from the start — it was so playful and fun! I loved their banter and then the tension just kept rising. I felt it just as much as THEY did for sure. And yeah, there were definitely some sexy times. For sure. But what I loved is that 1) they weren’t crazy graphic because I’m just not sure that’s my thing and 2) not super corny. Sure there were a few lines were I rolled my eyes (lots of mention of pebbled nipples) but overall I just enjoyed the obvious passion between the two combined with their STORIES. That’s what was so great about this book! And Jax, the swoons are off the charts for this man candy!

I’m excited to continue on with the series because Simply Irresistible was a solid read for me and I LOVED the West Coast town of Lucky Harbor. That is one of the biggest things about this book is that Lucky Harbor is a place I want to go visit and Jill Shalvis creates this town vividly — both landscape-wise and with the cast of characters and the places in the town. I kind of love Lucky Harbor in the way I love Stars Hollow and I can see that love intensifying through the series.

Simply Irresistible was a fun romance that was perfect for my first time reading an adult romance. It was certainly steamy (at least for this romance newb) but it also had a great story, characters and setting. I completely fell in love with Lucky Harbor and the great cast of characters and was definitely smitten with Jax and Maddie’s romance — it was playful, fun and passionate. What I loved MOST about this book, even though the romance was wonderful, was the growth between Maddie and her sisters and all the fun, goofy times they had together in the midst of some hard times. It’s good for your soul to watch them heal because of each other. Pebbled nipples aside, really solid book — it didn’t blow my mind or anything but it was super enjoyable if you are looking for a fun romance that balances story and sexytimes. SUBSTANCE. It has it.

***OOHH and Simply Irresistible is currently $2.99 for the Kindle.***

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you like it or no if you’ve read it? If you’ve read further into the series, which book was your fave? What other contemporary adult romances can you recommend to this newbie?

three-half-stars
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