It’s not often that I find a new contemporary romance author who blows me away with the very first book. But that’s exactly what happened when I bought my first Jill Shalvis novel three years ago. The story was Head Over Heels, the third book in Jill Shalvis’ insanely popular Lucky Harbor series. From the first page, I knew it was special — the main character was spunky and fun, and her love interest was brooding and hot. More importantly, they had chemistry. Banter and sweet moments and so much heat that I had to take breaks to fan myself. It’s an elusive concept, true chemistry between characters, and so many authors get it so wrong. But Shalvis isn’t one of them, and as soon as I finished Head Over Heels, I knew I was hooked for life.
Her latest story is an adorable little Christmas novella called One Snowy Night (Avon Impulse, November 8, 2016). It’s part of her Heartbreaker Bay series and it looks adorable (and not just because the cover has a couple making out in a pickup truck!). She also has a full length novel, Accidentally On Purpose (Avon, January 24, 2017). Also set in Heartbreaker Bay (the third book in the series), this story is about Elle Wheaton and Archer Hunt as they try to stay away from each other, but can’t quite give up on their love. Like with any other Jill Shalvis novel, I’ll be first in line at the bookstore that day. Or, more likely, waiting impatiently for it to download onto my Kindle.
And while I’ll snap up any new Jill Shalvis novel to hit the shelves, there are a few that I return to no matter what. These are the books that made me fall in love with Shalvis’ writing in the first place, and I know I’ll be reading these about once a year for the rest of time.
Here they are, my five favorite Jill Shalvis novels and why you’ll fall for them just as hard as I did:
Head Over Heels (Forever Publishing, December 1, 2011)
Sweet Little Lies (Avon Romance, June 28, 2016)
Shalvis’ new Heartbreaker Bay series launched this past summer, and it’s just as addictive as Lucky Harbor. Sweet Little Lies is the first in the series, and is set in a city rather than Shalvis’ usual quaint small towns. But it still has the feel of a smaller community, with friends and family rallying around each other no matter what. Pru is a boat captain (which is totally awesome) who has a major secret. She’s carrying around a lot of guilt, which brings her into Finn O’Riley’s life. Finn runs a local pub, and has been devoted to working hard ever since his father died, trying to give his little brother the life he thinks he deserves. But when Finn and Pru grow closer and closer, Pru’s secret threatens to tear them apart for good. I loved how these two became true friends as well as lovers, and the whole book has a magical quality that will pull you in from the start.
Nobody But You (Grand Central Publishing, March 29, 2016)
This is the third book in Shalvis’ Cedar Ridge series and it is definitely my favorite of the bunch. Our hero and heroine — Jacob and Sophie — are both pretty damaged and running from their pasts. Jacob is in the army and, after a falling out with his twin years ago, hasn’t been home since he was 18. After the death of a close friend, he decides to finally come back to Cedar Ridge to rest, heal and reconcile with his family. But then he finds the newly divorced Sophie illegally docking her boat on his property. Sophie’s divorce was nasty, and she’s determined to not get hurt again. She’s broke, with only the boat left to her name and nowhere else to go. She’s also not restful or relaxing, basically the exact opposite of what Jacob thinks he needs. But the two can’t seem to stay away from each other, and it’s through their growing love (and, omg!, their sexy chemistry) that the two are both able to heal.
Forever and a Day (Forever Publishing, July 31, 2012)
Then Came You (Berkley Publishing, July 1, 2014)
Romance plus cute animals! What more could you want? The fifth book in Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series once again intertwines a love of animals with, well, love. Emily is a veterinary intern who ends up at a small clinic in Sunshine, Idaho, so she can fulfill the terms of the scholarship that sent her to vet school. The only problem? Her hot new boss just happens to be the guy she had a one-night stand with in Reno. Their chemistry is out of control as they work together at the vet, knowing that their life plans don’t exactly match up. Emily is determined to move to LA, while Wyatt is just as determined to stay in Sunshine and put down permanent roots. I won’t spoil how (or if) the two work it out, but trust me when I say that you will not want to miss this book. These two are adorable together, from their cute banter to their mutual love of animals.