Review: Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

Filed in 4 1/2 Stars , Jill Shalvis , Review , The Latin Lover Posted on December 8, 2011 @ 11:00 am 9 comments

Format read: ebook
Release Date: 1 November 2011
Number of pages: 684 pages
Publisher: Forever
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Source: review copy provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon

Christmas in Lucky Harbor is a 2-in-1 reissue of Simply Irresistible and The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis, this review is only of the 1st story: Simply Irresistible


Simply Irresistible – Book #1 in the Lucky Harbor series

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.

My Thoughts: I first heard of Simply Irresistible when it came out, it was all over the book blogs with its unique white cover. It sounded like a nice story and I put it on my to-read-one-day-when-I-get-the-time list and mostly forgot about it. Then being the Christmas-aholic that I am I requested the Christmas in Lucky Harbor book at NetGalley I was happy to discover it was actually a reissue of Book #1 and #2 of the Lucky Harbor series, nothing better than to start the series at the beginning and I can’t understand why I waited so long to read it!

Simply Irresistible is wonderful. It is heartwarming, cute, funny and sexy. The perfect small town holiday romance. If you haven’t yet read the Lucky Harbor series, I urge you to do it! Basically it tells the story of three half-sisters who after the death of their hippy mom get together in the small town of Lucky Harbor (where they haven’t been since their childhood) to decide what to do with their mom’s run-down inn and their lives.

Simply Irresistible is Maddie’s (the middle sister) story. Maddie has been nicknamed as the “Mouse” because she is compliant, shy and rather self-effacing. As the middle child she is the mediator between her older and younger sister who are constantly at each others’ throat. Maddie is a nice, relatable heroine: she considers herself average and ordinary, but her kind heart, generosity, vulnerability and compassion make her one of a kind. Maddie is adorable, see for yourself:

After they see the sad state in which the inn is, Maddie and her sisters get drunk and Maddie drunk dials a contractor (who will turn out to be, yep, you guessed it right, the hero of the story):

“Hi,” she said at the beep. “Potential new client here, looking for a master—er, renovation expert. We’re at Lucky Harbor Resort, at the end of Lucky Harbor Road, you can’t miss us. Oh, and we’re in desperate need of mastering. You’re probably busy, seeing as you’re the only master in town, but we’re short on time. Like really short on time. In fact, we’re sort of desperate—” She broke off and covered the mouthpiece because Tara was in her face, waving wildly.


“You said desperate twice. You can’t tell him that— he’ll raise his price! And what the hell is your fixation on being mastered?” Maddie rolled her eyes—which made her dizzy—and uncovered the mouthpiece.

“Okay, forget the desperate thing. We’re not desperate. Hell, we could do the work ourselves, if we wanted. So come or don’t come, no worries.” She paused, turned her back on her sisters, and lowered her voice to speak extra softly. “ But please come first thing in the morning!” And then she quickly ended the conversation and smiled innocently at Tara.

Maddie just got out of an abusive relationship and tries to get herself together. I found it stunning how despite being such a shy and peaceful person she had this inner strength and drive to build herself and her self-respect back all alone, without the help or knowledge of anyone else, just on her own.

Jax, our hero, is simply put dreamy. In Maddie’s words:

he had a voice that went down like smooth whiskey, a way of looking at her that tended to get her to say more than she should, and oh, yeah, he kissed like heaven on earth.

He is considerate, warm-hearted, and droolworthy handsome *dreamy sighs* The attraction and then later sweet and sizzling love story that develops between Maddie and Jax gave me both heart palpitations and delicious shivers, my favourite combination when reading a romance novel 🙂

For me one of the highlights of the novel were the one-liner recipe cards the girls’ mom left them with advice on life, love and everything in between. They were all completely unique and made me chuckle without exception:

“The easy road is always under construction, so have an alternate route planned.”

“If you’re going through hell . . . keep moving.”

“Smile . . . it makes people wonder what you’re up to.”

“Remember, it’s always better to be the smartass rather than the dumbass.”

“Men are like roses. You have to watch out for the pricks.”

“Men are like parking spots. All the good ones are taken, and those that aren’t are inaccessible.”

“I chose the path less traveled, but only because I was lost. Carry a map.”

And the chuckle out loud humour permeated the novel, be it dialogues between Jax and his friend:

He was still struggling with his own temper when Ford strode into the office and kicked Jax’s feet off his desk.

“Get up. Water’s calm. Wind’s kicking. We’re going sailing.”

“Not in the mood.”

“I’m looking for a first mate, not a sex partner.”


or Jax and Maddie:

“Yesterday you said you wouldn’t be my escape.”

“That was a stupid statement by a very stupid man who wasn’t thinking clearly.” “And you’re thinking clearly now?” “Yes. This isn’t just sex between us. So if you want escape, and you want to use my body to do it, then I’m your willing victim.”

“Magnanimous of you.”

or the sisters:

“I want sympathy!”

“Are you kidding me? You have the sexiest man on the planet wanting you. You’re getting laid regularly. No sympathy for you!”

The relationship between the sisters was fantastic: it was explosive, with lots of screaming and hair-pulling, but deep down the love and sense of belonging was what mattered.

I loved how the holidays were incorporated in the story. It didn’t feel forced and added something to the basic story of love and family. I’m sure you’ll have a blast reading about the sisters’ holiday decorations and Christmas tree (I know I had), here is just a teaser so you get a first taste:

She couldn’t help it. The top of her head was bumping up against the scrawny trunk of the tree, and she was breathing in the scent of pine. Above her, she could see a set of barbecue tongs dangling off the branches next to a picture of Jon Bon Jovi, a whisk, a Tupperware lid, and a near-naked shot of a very young Johnny Depp. “I’ve never had a more beautiful tree,” she whispered reverently.

My only minor complaint about the book was that Jill Shalvis ended chapters at the most interesting scenes and the next chapter picked up at a later place, leaving the reader out of anything that happened between.

Verdict: Simply Irresistible was the first book I read for the Book Lovers Inc’s Holiday Reading Challenge (if you’d like to join the fun: CLICKIE), and loved it to pieces! Jill Shalvis’ narrative flows freely, the story is engaging, the characters are entertaining and the dialogue is the best! I just loved all the chuckle out loud funny quips between the sisters and then there is the melt-you-on-the-spot love story between Maddie and Jax *dreamy sigh*

Simply Irresistible is the perfect cute and light romance for the holidays to savour with a mug of hot cocoa curled up on the sofa, I’m sure you’ll love it! 🙂

I give Simply Irresistible 4.5 bookies and can’t wait to read more of the series!

Books in the series:

Book #1 – Simply Irresistible (Maddie’s story)

Book #2 – The Sweetest Thing (Tara’s story)

Book #3 – Head Over Heels (Chloe’s story)

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • blodeuedd December 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    As soon as I get that library e-reader again I will read this one :=D

    • Stella December 9, 2011 at 9:45 am

      Enjoy Blodeuedd! It was the perfect funny and sweet small town romance for the holidays 🙂

  • aurian December 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Sounds great Stella, I’ll put it on my wishlist. But about that challenge, I believe I read most Christmas stories around Valentines day, or perhaps Easter, or high summer …

    • Stella December 9, 2011 at 9:46 am

      Lol I know that around July I have a craving to listen to Christmas songs, but never thought about reading holiday novels in the summer. I would find it somehow jarring that I am reading about snow and ice cold weather while it is 35 degrees and blinding sunshine outside 🙂

  • Lisa @ BaffledBooks December 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I loved Simply Irresistible too! I’m still reading the second story but the series seems to be holding up nicely. I’m going to have to hunt down the third soon. Great review. 🙂

    • Stella December 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

      I have heard great things about Book 3 so I am excited to continue reading this series. (also, have you heard that Jill just finished books 4-5-6 which will be released one after the other in the summer of 2012 and she was wondering whether to write more Lucky Harbor novels or start a new series)

  • Mary Kirkland December 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of reviews for this book lately and most everyone is saying the same thing which is really good. I’ll probably give this one a read too.

  • Natalija December 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I have read only one book by Jill Shalvis & I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d like, but I’m willing to give her another try. This series sounds really good.

    • Stella December 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      Natalija, which one was it?

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