Friday, August 3, 2012

Bonus Review: Forever and a Day

Forever and a Day
By Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Grand Central Forever
Release Date: July 31, 2012

Grace Brooks wasn’t looking for a job as a dog walker, but when a misdialed call leads to an offer of the job, she needs the money badly enough to take it. She can only hope her high-achieving super scientists parents never find out that their adopted daughter is reduced to such work. She hasn’t told them that her promising career as a CPA for a banking firm in Seattle came to an abrupt end when she rejected the horizontal position her boss saw as part of the job. Lucky Harbor was exactly one gas tank away from Seattle, but Grace has found friends and a sense of belonging in the small town. She hasn’t found a steady job however, and unlike her friends Mallory Quinn (Lucky in Love) and Amy Michaels (At Last), her social life is sadly lacking as well. What she doesn’t know is that the phone call about a dog walking job she never sought is going to change everything.

Josh Scott hates chaos, but that’s what his life has become.  Five years earlier, his parents were killed in an automobile accident that left Josh, already the single father of an infant son, responsible for his sixteen-year-old sister Anna, who was left a paraplegic by the same accident, and for his father’s medical practice. Things haven’t become any easier. Josh works two shifts each week in Lucky Harbor ER and volunteers once a week at a local clinic while keeping the practice he still thinks of as his father’s going, parenting a five-year-old who has been in a barking stage since Anna introduced a pug puppy into the mix, and riding herd on Anna who is in full-throttle rebellion against her limited, boring life. When his baby sitter bails on him, he really is desperate. He needs help, and Grace needs a temporary job.

Grace is still looking for a job beyond Luck Harbor, one more in keeping with parental expectations. Josh is still determined to avoid a relationship that would mean one more person depending on him. But the chemistry between them proves stronger than their resolutions, and their hearts recognize they are meant to be together long before their heads concede the victory to love.

Forever and a Day is the sixth novel in the Luck Harbor series, the third in the Chocoholics trilogy. It’s my favorite of the series. Grace and Josh are a delight together. Their relationship between them grows in a credible manner with an appealing blend of humor, sexy scenes, and genuine communication. Grace allows herself to become the free spirit she was meant to be, and she balances Josh’s sense of responsibility that weighs too heavily upon him at times. Toby and Anna play important roles. Josh’s love for son is shown in heartwarming scenes, and his relationship with Anna has the complications that one might realistically expect given their particular circumstances. I especially liked seeing Grace’s relationships with Toby and Anna develop naturally rather than seeming to be mere extensions of her relationship with Josh.

Fans of the series will enjoy seeing Mallory and Amy enjoying their HEAs, but the book can be appreciated as a standalone. I’m a fan of small-town contemporary romances, and Shalvis has created one of the strongest series in the subgenre with her Lucky Harbor books. There is the strong sense of community that is the heart of such books, but the focus is on the romance between Grace and Josh. If you’re a fan of Shalvis, I predict this book will become one of your favorites. If you’ve never read Shalvis, I highly recommend beginning with this one. It’s a definite winner.

The trend for small-town contemporary romances shows no signs of slowing down. Do you like this subgenre? Which series is your favorite?


Kathleen O said...

This one would be in my Top Ten.. But I would have to say Robyn Carr's Virgin River Series goes straight to the top.

quantum said...

I mean to try this series, especially as it is available in audio.

I'm with Kathleen on Virgin River. Amazing series!

I also particularly like Susan Mallery's 'Fools Gold'. The cyclist in the opening book, 'Chasing Perfect' reminds me a bit of Bradley Wiggins ..... without the side burns! LOL

Janga said...

Kathleen, I have so many favorite fictional small towns that I'd have a difficult time compliing even a top ten. But Lucky Harbor and Virgin river are both on my list too.

Janga said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying your visits to Fool's Gold, Q. I think you'll like Lucky Harbor too.