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Monday, September 26, 2016

Inkslinger Blog Tour: The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis (Review, Excerpt & Giveaway)

Just in time for the holiday season, a REALLY good holiday romance by a new-to-me author! Let's officially kick off the holiday season with this one yeah? I'm definitely going to check out more books by Jill Shalvis!

New York Times and USA Today 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 sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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     A guy stood on the other side of the glass, mouth grim, expression dialed to Tall, Dark and Attitude-ridden. He was something too, all gorgeous and broody and –hold up. There was something familiar about him, enough that her feet propelled her forward out of pure curiosity. When it hit her halfway to the door, she froze, her heart just about skidding to a stop.

     “Keane Winters,” she murmured, lip curling like she’d just eaten a black licorice. She hated black licorice. But she was looking at the only man on the planet who could make her feel all puckered up as well as good about her decision to give up men.

     In fact, if she’d only given them up sooner, say back on the day of the Sadie Hawkins dance in her freshman year of high school when he’d stood her up, she’d have saved herself a lot of heartache in the years since.

     On the other side of the door, Keane shoved his mirrored sunglasses to the top of his head, revealing dark chocolate eyes that she knew could melt when he was amused or feeling flirtatious, or turn to ice when he was so inclined.

     They were ice now.

     Catching her gaze, he lifted a cat carrier. A bright pink bedazzled carrier.

     He had a cat.

     Her entire being wanted to soften at this knowledge because that meant on some level at least he had to be a good guy, right?

     Luckily her brain clicked on, remembering everything, every little detail of that long ago night. Like how she’d had to borrow a dress for the dance from a girl in her class who’d gleefully lorded it over her, how she’d had to beg her foster mother to let her go, how she’d stolen a Top Ramen from the locked pantry and eaten it dry in the bathroom so she wouldn’t have to buy both her dinner and his, as was custom for the “backward” dance.

     “We’re closed,” she said through the still locked glass door.

     Not a word escaped his lips. He simply raised the cat carrier another inch, like he was God’s gift.

     And he had been. At least in high school.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: September 27, 2016

If she has her way . . .

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her . . .

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him . . .

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice . . .

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work . . .

Heck yeah I love being wowed by new-to-me authors like Jill Shalvis!

So the setup is that Willa Davis is still holding a bit of a grudge against Keane Winters when he walks into her business with a cat from hell and in desperate need of a cat sitter. He doesn’t remember exactly what he did to make Willa mad at him but she does. There’s definitely an attraction there though but even though Willa has a successful pet grooming business and a group of wonderful friends, she’s a bit on the paranoid side when it comes to romance and relationships. So is Keane for that matter but these two can’t seem to resist the need to be around each other which brings all sorts of delicious naughtiness and complications neither one expected.

So Keane comes from a very closed off, no love type of family. He’s grown up without the usual love and affection that parents should show their children. Enter his great-aunt he hasn’t seen or heard from in years who is ill needs Keane to take her cat Petunia for awhile. Keane was probably the most complex character of the two, his childhood didn’t leave much room for affection, let alone love as an adult so his while his attraction to Willa wasn’t surprising, his wanting to do more than just sleep with her was. I liked that this really sexy, confident guy found himself in a position where he didn’t know what to do! Keane bumbled his way through his emotions and while it was tempting to feel sorry for him, I mostly laughed at him. Serves him right for acting like he had all the answers to life! But I only laughed because I liked him I swear!

I loved Willa, even with her moments of needing some sense knocked into her she was a gem. She took her experience as a “lost girl” and used it to give other people a place to belong. She had such a big heart yet didn’t expect anything for herself and that’s what she needed to do: Want something bad enough for herself instead of wanting things for others. She wasn’t a martyr though, just a generous person who didn’t like the thought of anyone being alone or not having people to count on. Of course, any character who loves animals scores big time brownie points with me so that helped.

One of THE best parts for me of this book were Willa’s friends! Goodness but they were so funny! Willa had this insane motley crew of friends who just loved her to pieces and were willing to be supportive of her all while telling her the absolute truth and arguing amongst themselves at the same time. I loved that Shalvis included men in Willa’s close knit group (I’m not a big fan of the all girl group of friends) because they added a dash of men’s humor and perspective to the group. Running a close second is Petunia the cat. I’m curious if Petunia was inspired by a real life cat because she totally reminded me of my aunt’s cat Sinatra (Yes, a girl cat named Sinatra but it fits I swear!). Petunia, or as Keane dubbed her, Pita had enough personality for her own book. She was one of those cats that people either fought with or adored and she provided a lot of the comedic set ups with Keane.

As a couple, Keane and Willa took a while to go from wildly attracted to sorta but not really a couple to OMG we’re totally a couple, we should panic but to me it didn’t feel drawn out. It felt like a natural pace for two romantically disabled people to move at. The one step forward, two steps back could be frustrating at times, particularly on Willa’s side but in the end I was left with no doubts about this couple’s romance and their happy ending. In between the romance, The Trouble with Mistletoe was filled with funny friends and a vindictive feline.

Final Verdict: One of the best reading experiences this year, new-to-me author Jill Shalvis perfectly blends red hot romance with humor and feel good scenes all around. I know I missed a book in this series but I’m hoping not to miss any more.

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