Tag: Animal Magnetism

Guest Review: All I Want by Jill Shalvis

Posted December 23, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: All I Want by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Tracy
All I Want by Jill Shalvis
Series: Animal Magnetism #7
Also in this series: Rescue My Heart (Animal Magnetism #3), Rumor Has It, Then Came You, Still the One, All I Want, All I Want
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Pilot-for-hire Zoe Stone is happy to call Sunshine, Idaho, her home base. But her quiet life is thrown for a loop when her brother’s friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent is a handsome flirt with a gift for getting under her skin. And the situation only escalates when Parker hires her to fly him around the area while he collects evidence on a suspected smuggler.

Now she has to live and work with the guy. But when they’re in the air, she sees another side of him. He’s driven, focused, and sharp. And while he enjoys giving commentary on her blind dates, she quickly realizes with a shock that it’s Parker who gets her engines going…

 

Zoe is kind of feeling like an empty nester. Her brother and sister have moved out of her old Victorian house and Zoe spends her time working or attempting to fix up the house. She’s decided that dating is the thing she needs to do so when our book begins she’s waiting for her blind date – a dentist – to arrive. When the man comes to the door she decides to take the awkward out of the goodnight kiss and kisses him right when she opens the door. Of course the man at the door isn’t her date – he’s her brother’s friend who will be staying with her for a while. She’s highly embarrassed but hey, he’s hot so no worries, right?

Parker is supposed to be on vacation but he’s in Idaho to try and catch smuggler he’s been after for forever – one who killed a co-worker of his. Despite trying to focus only on work he can’t quite get his mind off of Zoe and that kiss. When he spends more time with her he finds that he not only likes her but is falling in love. He knows that he has to leave to go back to work but he doesn’t want to lose Zoe and it tears him up inside. Zoe tries to act stoic because she’s used to people leaving her but as much as she puts on the act that she’s A-OK, she can’t quite figure out how life is gonna go once Parker leaves her for good.

This was a wonderful addition to the AM series –seriously. Zoe and Parker are so wonderful together and their chemistry is off the charts. They clicked from minute one on page and though Zoe tried to put up every road block she could think of, they were no match for Parker’s charm.

The story is sweet and sexy and has adorable animals in it – as all books in this series do. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who just wants a sweet romance with very little conflict.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: All I Want by Jill Shalvis

Posted November 2, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: All I Want by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Jen
All I Want by Jill Shalvis
Series: Animal Magnetism #7
Also in this series: Rescue My Heart (Animal Magnetism #3), Rumor Has It, Then Came You, Still the One, All I Want, All I Want
Publisher: Berkley, Penguin
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Pilot-for-hire Zoe Stone is happy to call Sunshine, Idaho, her home base. But her quiet life is thrown for a loop when her brother’s friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent is a handsome flirt with a gift for getting under her skin. And the situation only escalates when Parker hires her to fly him around the area while he collects evidence on a suspected smuggler.

Now she has to live and work with the guy. But when they’re in the air, she sees another side of him. He’s driven, focused, and sharp. And while he enjoys giving commentary on her blind dates, she quickly realizes with a shock that it’s Parker who gets her engines going…

Have I ever mentioned how much I luuuuuurrrrvvvee book 2 in this series, Animal Attraction? Because I do love it, so very, very much. Dell and Jade are up there in my top 10 favorite romance couples ever. I love Dell’s smart aleck attitude that covers a giant soft heart, and I love Jade’s quiet strength. I love how they get close and build trust and end up laying it all bare for the other, and I love that they are both made better with the support of the other. (If you haven’t read that book, go read it right now. Go! I’ll wait.) The problem is I tend to measure the other books in the series against that one, and the later books especially haven’t quite been measuring up. Happily, I really enjoyed All I Want and felt it hit many of the same notes for me that Animal Attraction did.

This time we finally get to learn more about Wyatt (book 5) and Darcy’s (book 6) sister Zoe. She’s a commercial pilot flying out of the small airport in Sunshine, and she’s always been the caretaker for her younger brother and sister thanks to her not-very-parental parents. Now that her siblings have moved out, she’s facing up to the fact that she’s lonely and has no life, and she’s trying to get back into the social scene. Parker is Wyatt’s old college friend, and he needs a place to stay in Sunshine for a few weeks. Zoe could use some extra income, so she agrees to let him rent a room in her house. Though he doesn’t tell Zoe immediately, Parker is in town to unofficially investigate a man who deals in illegal animal products, and Parker wants to stop the man’s activities as well as avenge the death of his former partner. He and Zoe immediately have some sizzling chemistry, and eventually they get involved despite Parker being clear that he’s leaving town soon. When Zoe inadvertently gets involved in Parker’s mission, he has to make some tough choices.

Zoe is an awesome, smart, self-sufficient heroine. She’s never had anyone to take care of her before, and when Parker starts to do little things to help her out she doesn’t even know how to handle it. It turns out she’s even stronger than anyone realizes, though, when she confesses to Parker how an ex majorly betrayed her trust. Suddenly her prickliness and drive to do everything herself make even more sense, and I loved the way she could stay strong but still admit her vulnerabilities to Parker. I also love that Parker doesn’t take anything away from Zoe by offering her support. He knows she’s capable and strong, and he doesn’t see her as weak just because she needs help sometimes. Zoe brings out a new side in Parker, too, because while he’s always taken care of his sister, he always saw himself as an island and one who doesn’t get attached. Zoe makes him want to connect with someone else and gets him considering that maybe there’s more to life than work. In other words, being together makes each one a better person, which is something I loved about Dell and Jade, too.

One reason I love Shalvis’s books is she rarely relies on a Big Misunderstanding, a trope that gets on my nerves. It’s true that Parker doesn’t tell Zoe the entire truth about why he’s in Idaho at first, but that was completely understandable given that he was investigating unofficially and against his boss’s directives. But Shalvis doesn’t let that lie go on, thankfully. When Zoe confesses her ex’s betrayal and how he misrepresented himself, Parker immediately (and I mean literally as soon as she finishes her story) tells her the truth about his job and gets it all out there on the table. He didn’t want to make Zoe feel betrayed or make her ever question his intentions. I loved that, and I loved him for it.

It did bother me that Parker did so much waffling at the end. There is a sort of tense, romantic suspense-y scene near the end, where Parker is forced to make a choice. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say he makes the right choice, which is a pretty big sign to everyone but him where his true path lies. So I couldn’t understand why he continued to act like he wasn’t the right guy for Zoe or why he couldn’t acknowledge what he wanted. Zoe is clear about what she wants, which is yet another thing I loved about her, but Parker kind of jerks her around for a while before he makes up his mind. I didn’t love that, but thankfully he pulls his head out of his butt eventually and makes things right.

Add in the wacky, funny banter and smoking hot sexual tension Shalvis is so good at, and this book was a real winner for me.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: All I Want by Jill Shalvis

Posted October 9, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: All I Want by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Rowena
All I Want by Jill Shalvis
Series: Animal Magnetism #7
Also in this series: Rescue My Heart (Animal Magnetism #3), Rumor Has It, Then Came You, Still the One, All I Want, All I Want
Publisher: Berkley, Penguin
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From the “awesomely, incredibly talented”* New York Times bestselling author of Still the One, comes a sexy new Animal Magnetism novel set in Sunshine, Idaho, where the sky is the limit when it comes to love.

Pilot-for-hire Zoe Stone is happy to call Sunshine, Idaho, her home base. But her quiet life is thrown for a loop when her brother’s friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent is a handsome flirt with a gift for getting under her skin. And the situation only escalates when Parker hires her to fly him around the area while he collects evidence on a suspected smuggler.

Now she has to live and work with the guy. But when they’re in the air, she sees another side of him. He’s driven, focused, and sharp. And while he enjoys giving commentary on her blind dates, she quickly realizes with a shock that it’s Parker who gets her engines going…

I can’t believe that this series is already on Book 7. I remember reading the first book in this series and being really excited about it. While every single book hasn’t worked for me, I still enjoy the series.

Zoe Stone is the eldest Stone sibling and the one that has always been in charge. So it goes without saying that she’s bossy. She’s always had to be because her parents were always traveling and leaving the kids behind so Zoe kind of just took charge. She looked out for Wyatt and Darcy and now that they’re both grown and moved out of the house they all shared when we first met them, Zoe has the house to herself…and she doesn’t know what to do with herself. She’s trying to get her own life by learning to bake, taking up some hobbies and getting out there to date but she hasn’t really had much success with anything.

When Wyatt’s friend from college needs a place to crash while “vacationing” in Sunshine, Wyatt gives him Zoe’s address and tells him to rent a room from her. So he does. But Zoe isn’t what Parker was expecting and Zoe doesn’t want to like what she sees when Parker shows up at her doorstep. But because this is a romance, they do like what they see and they do fight their attraction until they just can’t anymore.

This was a fun romance about two people who come to love each other while living with each other. I thought both Parker and Zoe were cute and seeing them come together in love was fun. This book is what I’ve come to expect from Jill Shalvis. She writes those cute contemporary romances that you want to cuddle close and spend the whole night sighing all over the place.

Fans of Jill Shalvis will enjoy this addition to her back list and fans of this series will enjoy it too. There’s cute pets, a steamy romance and loads of laughs.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Still the One by Jill Shalvis

Posted May 1, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

still the one by Jill ShalvisJen’s review of Still the One (Animal Magnetism #6) by Jill Shalvis

Darcy Stone is game for anything — except sexy Navy veteran and physical therapist A.J. Colten, the guy who’d rejected her when she’d needed him most. Now the shoe is on the other foot and he needs her to play nice and help him secure grants for his patients. Unfortunately, Darcy can’t refuse. She needs the money to fund her passion project: rescuing S&R dogs and placing them with emotionally wounded soldiers.

A.J. admits it — Darcy is irresistible. But he’s already been battle-scarred by a strong-willed, vivacious, adventurous woman like Darcy, and he’s not making the same mistake twice—until he and Darcy are forced to fake a relationship. Growing closer than they’d ever imagined possible, Darcy and AJ have to ask themselves: how much between them is pretend? What’s the real thing? And where does it go from here?

We’re pretty big fans of Jill Shalvis around here, myself included. She’s always a dependable read for me, so it kind of pains me to admit Still the One was a bit of a disappointment for me.

This book tells the story of Darcy, sister to Wyatt from the previous book in the series (Then Came You). Darcy was in a horrible car accident and is still dealing with the debilitating injuries. AJ is the physical therapist (and Wyatt’s best friend) who helped her recover . Darcy has come a long way and has even regained the ability to walk, but she’s still in pain and has many physical limitations. (Though those limitations apparently don’t extend to the bedroom. There’s really no acknowledgement of her injuries in the sex scenes, which I felt was a missed opportunity.) She’s trying to rebuild her life, and while she does she’s working part time at AJ’s physical therapy office. She and AJ have a rather antagonistic relationship due to some unacknowledged attraction, but when AJ needs Darcy’s help to get a grant, she reluctantly agrees because she feels she owes him. They end up having to pretend to be in a relationship, which only adds more fuel to the fire because it’s a little too close to what they both really want.

I liked Darcy as a character. She’s prickly and defiant but that’s what’s kept her going through the grueling months of pain and hard work. She’s a survivor. Her relationship with her siblings was great, too. I like that they support each other, try to protect each other, and work hard to be a family. I also enjoyed her relationship with her friend Xander, which was complicated and interesting to read about. I didn’t dislike AJ, but then again I don’t feel like I really knew him well. He cares about Darcy, but I didn’t get a sense for why, beyond her generic “strength.” He has some interesting history with his dad, but that wasn’t really explored beyond one quick little scene. I felt like AJ’s story was half-finished. Still, his dialogue with Darcy is entertaining, and the book has lots of Shalvis’s lovely humor.

I didn’t particularly like Darcy and AJ together, though. I felt like there was an inequality that didn’t help sell me on the romance. First, AJ was Darcy’s physical therapist and even though she’s not technically visiting him any more, he routinely snaps back into therapist mode with her. There was too much therapist/patient for my comfort. I could overlook the inequality there, though, if I felt like it evened out in other areas, but it didn’t. I was pretty frustrated with AJ because I felt like he never really put himself out there. He pushes and pushes on Darcy to trust him, to open up, to be vulnerable, but I kept wondering, how much more vulnerable can she be? She’s the one who tried to advance their relationship in the past, and he shot her down without an explanation, which humiliated her. She’s the one whose entire life was upended, and she’s struggling to construct something new. Then they start spending more time together and he continually pushes her to reveal her fears, her desires, etc. He doesn’t give her much back, beyond a quick little conversation about his ex. He’s so stoic and might think about how he cares, but he rarely expresses that care to her in words. I wanted him to meet her in the middle, to make a gesture or demonstrate his honest feelings. I wanted him to admit, freely and passionately, about how much he needs her and how much he’s willing to do for her. I never got that, and it made me doubt their compatibility. Instead, it left me concerned about the hero-worship from Darcy and the savior-complex from AJ.

There was also another seemingly minor issue in the book that really bothered me, enough that I just couldn’t get it out of my head after finishing. One of the reasons AJ is supposedly reluctant to get involved with Darcy is because his gorgeous ex fiancee had been disfigured in an accident but couldn’t cope or move on. AJ and Darcy are so incredibly judgmental about this woman, and I didn’t like it. I could understand why AJ had to move on from her–it does sound like her attitude was toxic and maybe highlighted what was already wrong in their relationship–but for AJ and Darcy to act so superior and judgmental was just icky. The ex was portrayed as unconscionably vain and selfish, highlighting how wonderful Darcy was because she wasn’t hung up on beauty. Ugh. How about a little grace and empathy for this other person who also suffered? How about acknowledging that things like recovery, pain,  and self esteem are complex and difficult? I get that AJ might have normal bad feelings about the end of a relationship, but I felt like Darcy shouldn’t be so quick to throw stones at someone she’s never even met, especially since Darcy didn’t always cope very constructively with her own accident. The whole thing felt one-note and just didn’t sit right with me.

I have to wonder if this isn’t a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” with this book. I really like all the rest of the books in the series, and I suspect not everyone will share the issues I did with Still the One. Shalvis fans should check it out, but I know for me it didn’t quite live up to it’s potential.

Grade: 3 out of 5

Reading Order:

This book is available from Berkley. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Guest Review: Still the One by Jill Shalvis

Posted April 21, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Still the One by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Tracy
Still the One by Jill Shalvis
Series: Animal Magnetism #6
Also in this series: Rescue My Heart (Animal Magnetism #3), Rumor Has It, Then Came You, All I Want, All I Want, All I Want
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: April 7th 2015
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Darcy Stone is game for anything—except sexy Navy vet and physical therapist AJ Colten, the guy who’d rejected her when she’d needed him most. Now the shoe is on the other foot and he needs her to play nice and help him secure grants for his patients. Unfortunately Darcy can’t refuse. She needs the money to fund her passion project: rescuing S&R dogs and placing them with emotionally wounded soldiers.
AJ admits it—Darcy is irresistible. But he’s already been battle-scarred by a strong-willed, vivacious, adventurous woman like Darcy, and he’s not making the same mistake twice—until he and Darcy are forced to fake a relationship. Growing closer than they’d ever imagined possible, Darcy and AJ have to ask themselves: how much between them is pretend? What’s the real thing? And where does it go from here?

Tracy’s review of Still The One (Animal Magnetism #6) by Jill Shalvis

Darcy’s parents were the type that couldn’t handle her. She would do something bad – normally for attention from them – and they’d send her off to a boarding school with no mean of communication with her parents, siblings or grandmother. She has a great fear of rejection because of this.

Eleven months ago she got in a car accident and while she survived she’s had her issues. One of those is with her physical therapist, AJ Colten. He is a great guy and she has the hots for him but the one time that she tries to make a move on him he told it no and that it would NEVER happen. Wow – nothing like a little rejection. She now works part time at AJ’s Wellness center as well as part time at the local vets office. She also tries to rescue and find new homes for therapy dogs for those who need them. She has a big heart but is afraid to show it. She has a brash and cocky attitude to try and cover any hurt she’s feeling.

AJ thinks that Darcy is sexy as hell but he knows that getting with her would be a bad idea. When he needs her to be a testimonial for his business so that he can get grants for patients who have their insurance money cut off before they’re healed, he’s not thrilled that the only one he can turn to is Darcy. They end up in Boise to meet the financers Darcy makes them believe that her and AJ are in love which is totally wrong – but doesn’t stop them from falling in bed together. This starts a sort of relationship between the two of them but neither truly knows how they feel or what they want.

I really liked Darcy in this story. She was very strong and capable and I had to admire her for overcoming all of her physical ailments time and time again during the book. I also adored the fact that she was saving dogs that needed to be needed and putting them with patients and people who could thoroughly benefit from their therapy and love. One dog she gave to a guy named Ronan who was just a grumpy ole soul but once he was with the dog it changed him and I loved that.

AJ was a little harder to read in this book and I frankly couldn’t get a complete bead on where his head was most of the time. I knew he cared deeply about Darcy but yet I wasn’t getting the love vibe from him throughout the story. IDK, there was just something missing on his side.

I didn’t care for Darcy’s constant back and forth with AJ as I was never quite sure where she was going with him. I was happy that she finally got herself together enough to realize that she was worthy of love.

The story was overall a good one but not my favorite of the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Reading Order:

This title is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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