Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Once In a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

Title: Once in a Lifetime
Author: Jill Shalvis
My Rating: A+ 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Lucky Harbor #9
Main Characters: Aubrey and Ben
Release Date: February 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

My Review:
A+ hot
This is the 9th book in the Lucky Harbor series and I've loved every one of these books...and a lot of that has not only been the main characters, but because I've fallen in love with this quirky little town, too. This book changed that. No, don't get me wrong...the book was fabulous. I'm just not sure I can ever forgive the town of Lucky Harbor for the judgements and wrongs that they piled onto Aubrey. OMG, never has the plight of a heroine bothered as much as it did for me in this one. I'll admit, I can get emotional about things that happen between the hero and heroine in a book, but never have I cried literal tears for just the overwhelming wrong done to a single character like I did while reading this book. 

Aubrey grew up in Lucky Harbor and if there was ever a tortured character, she was it. She learned way early in life that the best defense was a good offense and she's the first to admit that she made a ton of mistakes along the way. But as the reasons behind those mistakes become clearer and clearer throughout the book, my heart broke a little bit more for Aubrey. The girl just cannot catch a break....in history or in present day. AND that's why I can't forgive this small town. Throughout this entire book, Aubrey is making amends....showing over and over how good her heart really is. But over and over again, the town turns on her and misjudges her. It literally broke my heart.

And then there's Ben...the guy who sees how good she really is underneath it all. But then he does something unforgivable too. I hate that he made that decision at the end. I understood why and the reasons for it, but *gah*....Aubrey didn't deserve that kind of treatment...AGAIN. Eventually, it does all turn out okay, but my heart twisted all the way to getting there. And I was just the reader. How twisted up inside did Aubrey have to feel?? You know, if she were real, which I get that she isn't, but that's totally what earned this book an A+... I got completely and totally caught up in the characters and the story in a way that was emotionally painful. I felt like she and Ben were absolutely real. It was definitely story telling at it's best.

But I did love everything about the romance between the two. I loved how hard they both fought it. I loved their entire back-story...yes, even Aubrey's really painful one. I loved the bookstore setting and have decided if I ever open a bookstore, it definitely needs a cat. I loved the moments of clarification for Ben when he truly saw Aubrey and beyond the facade that no one else ever bothered to look behind. Such an amazing story. Once again, my hat is off to the amazing story telling power of Jill Shalvis. (And I had a good chuckle when Lucille was banned from FB for her too-hot guy photos...)

So, do I recommend this book? Absolutely yes, it was phenomenal. Will I forgive the town of Lucky Harbor? That remains to be seen. I'll decide after the next book. The citizens are going to have to work hard to earn my trust and love again....

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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