Series: Sunrise Cove

BOOK REVIEW: The Backup Plan (Sunrise Cove #3) by Jill Shalvis

BOOK REVIEW: The Backup Plan (Sunrise Cove #3) by Jill ShalvisThe Backup Plan (Sunrise Cove #3)
by Jill Shalvis
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When Alice receives a call about an unexpected windfall, she’s stunned to learn the gift is a falling-apart-at-the-seams old Wild West B&B she once considered home—and she’s inherited it along with two strangers. Except they weren’t always strangers. Once upon a time, they were friends. One is her ex-BFF Lauren. The other is Knox, the only guy to ever break her heart, all while never even knowing she existed.

It turns out their lives are unknowingly entangled because they once separately helped the same woman without expecting anything in return. Years later, Alice, Lauren, and Knox are broken in their own way, with their own history—and secrets— causing them to start out on the wrong foot with each other. But according to the will, they must renovate and be partners in the inn for one year or else lose their inheritance.

Stuck together, they make a list of rules to keep the peace—rules that end up doing the opposite, but by some miracle they find what they didn’t even know they were looking for—acceptance, true friendship, and in a case (or two!), true love.

Review:
 
“And we are a trio, whether you like it or not,” Lauren said and pointed to Knox. “One.” She pointed to Alice. “Two . . .” She pointed to herself. “Three. See? A threesome—”
Knox choked on a soda.
Not that kind of threesome!” Lauren turned back to the rules and wrote rule number twelve, all in caps:
NO FALLING IN LOVE!
 
The Backup Plan was a tale of friendship, love, forgiveness and healing. Three lost souls came together and filled this story with letters, a list of rules that you just knew were going to get broken, secrets and a dog named Pickle that will completely steal your heart! With emotions running high, memories around every corner and secrets that refused to stay buried, this book had so much going for it! If you love women’s fiction mixed with romance and friendship, then you may want this one on your tbr!
 
Her usual mantra was an automatic “I’m fine,” but she could pretend all she wanted, the truth was that deep down she wasn’t fine and she wasn’t living her best life.
 
Alice inherited one third of the Wild West B&B from Eleanor, which was where she grew up. Along with Knox, who she had crushed on in her younger years. And her ex-bff Lauren. Yet each of them were filled with secrets, and haunted by their pasts. There were so many unspoken words and at times it seemed like everything would just fall apart. Especially since they were so different from one another. But differences and pasts aside, they had to work together to fix up the inn and have it running in 30 days. This story alternated between the three of them, and it was an emotional, messy journey that was filled with tons of heart!
 
Alice: Warning— sleep with one eye open tonight.
Knox: Sorry, can’t hear you. We’ve got a bad connection.
Alice: THAT DOESN’T WORK WITH TEXTS! 
 
Lauren let out a horrified laugh and covered her mouth. “You like poking at the bear?”
I’m the bear. He’s poking at me.” She turned on a heel and went back to painting.
 
Alice could be hilarious with her dry humor, yet she was extremely closed off. She wanted to get the job done and leave this town behind. There were too many ghosts hanging around and things she didn’t want to face. So Alice was the most challenging one to like or click with. She didn’t want feel. She didn’t want to heal. She just wanted to keep going with her head barely above water. Yet that was no life to live. And as she spent time around Lauren and Knox, I saw that she could still care. That she could still feel. She remembered why Lauren was the way she was for certain things, and in moments like that it felt as though she was giving us the tiniest bit of connection between them. It was a fight with Alice from start to finish. But I was so happy to watch her grow!
 
Knox looked Alice over for a long moment, then reached out. And as if her hand were a part of someone else’s body, it latched onto his.
He gave her a small but warm smile and a squeeze, and for a moment she held on. He didn’t ask her if she was okay, for which she was grateful.  Because she wasn’t. Not even close.
But maybe she could get there.
 
Lauren was Eleanor’s grandniece and I never understood why she wasn’t at the inn, or had a relationship with Eleanor. Especially since she was bffs with Alice in her younger years. But that wasn’t the first thing I wanted to know. I desperately wanted to understand what happened between Lauren and Alice. And as we got pieces of their past and it all came together, hold onto your heart. There was so much healing that needed to take place and things that needed to be aired out. Their road was extremely challenging. But I loved who Lauren was. Her pink, vegan ways will always stick with me. So I wished for her happily ever after too! I was cheering her on every step of the way!
 
“Are you baiting me for a reason?”
“Is that what I’m doing?”
He smiled at her innocent tone, not fooled for a second. “It’s that, or you’re  flirting with me.”
That shut her up.
 
Then there was Knox who ran a successful contracting company. He was one of my favorites. I loved that he remembered Alice, and that you knew he wanted her. His actions and words towards Alice made me smile again and again. He was such a hard worker, kind and so easy to fall for. And his patience with Alice and her struggles was mind blowing amazing! But his past hurt my heart too. So when him or Lauren would click, or he could make headway with Alice, I was so happy for Knox!
 
Lauren’s To-do List
Water succulents.
Ask Ben out on date (I know this was you, Alice, and it’s not funny!)
 
It felt as though Alice, Lauren and Knox were alone and each of them was against the world. Yet when they came together, there was so much possibility. For a fresh start. For friendship. And love. I loved how they all bickered together. I loved how they started to feel like a family. But as things from their pasts came out and truths became known, there was so much to unpack. But with each obstacle, it slowly pulled them closer together. I even shed tears in a moment between Alice and Lauren. And I was grateful when there was laughter, like with that lipstick lol. Or when their Ground Rules grew!  The story ended with a wonderful epilogue and a fabulous happily ever after for all. The Backup Plan was filled with so much heart and emotion, and I can’t wait to see what Jill Shalvis writes next!
 
Pickle chewed the vegan burger, then froze, the whites of his eyes showing . He made a “gak” sound and spit out the food.

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: The Family You Make (Sunrise Cove #1) by Jill Shalvis

BOOK REVIEW: The Family You Make (Sunrise Cove #1) by Jill ShalvisThe Family You Make (Sunrise Cove #1)
by Jill Shalvis
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Beloved New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis begins a new series—Sunrise Cove—set near beautiful Lake Tahoe, with a heartwarming story of found family and love.

During the snowstorm of the century Levi Cutler is stranded on a ski lift with a beautiful stranger named Jane. After strong winds hurl the gondola in front of them into the ground, Levi calls his parents to prepare them for the worst…but can’t bring himself to say goodbye. Instead, wanting to fulfill his mother’s lifelong wish, he impulsively tells her he’s happily settled and Jane is his girlfriend—right before his phone dies.

But Levi and Jane do not.

Now Levi’s family is desperate to meet “The One.” Though Jane agrees to be his pretend girlfriend for just one dinner, she’s nervous. After a traumatic childhood, Jane isn’t sure she knows how to be around a tight-knit family that cherishes one another. She’s terrified, and a little jealous. But an unexpected series of events and a host of new friends soon show Jane that perhaps this is the life she was always meant to have.

As Jane and Levi spend more time together, pretend feelings quickly turn into real ones. Now all Jane has to do is admit to herself she can’t live without the man she’s fallen in love with and the family she has always dreamed of.


Review:

The Family You Make had joy, heartache, laughter and hope laced throughout the pages.  With a story that was filled with richness and depth, intricate characters and a happily ever after, this book had it all.  Fans of adult romance, fake dating and emotional stories should definitely add this book to their tbr!

“I didn’t want you to get hurt,” he said quietly, sucking in a breath when she applied pressure.
She didn’t want to react to his statement, but she honestly couldn’t remember when anyone had done such a thing for her, stranger or otherwise.

The beginning of this story had me glued to every single word.  As someone who snowboards on the weekends and lives in the Lake Tahoe area where this story takes place I now have a new fear of gondolas LOL!  But the beginning completely pulled me in and I was obsessed.  With Jane and Levi finding themselves in a life or death situation on a gondola, I was beyond nervous for them.  And even injured, Levi tried to crack jokes and I couldn’t stop smiling.  So when Levi called his family to say goodbye, he couldn’t do it.  He told them instead that he was finally happy and had a girlfriend named Jane.  But then Jane and Levi ended up surviving, and their lives would never be the same again.

His laugh floated down to her. “Thoughts you weren’t afraid of anything.”
Turned out, she was afraid of plenty, including how just looking at him could change the rhythm of her heart.

Jane was the queen of running.  She didn’t ever stick around long enough to form attachments, or for her to be told she wasn’t wanted anymore.  Which suited her perfectly because that was how her childhood went.  She was shuffled from one place to the next and it hardened her heart.  So going into this story, I’m so glad Sam @ WLABB told me to have patience with Jane.  Because she desperately needed that from not only those in her life, but from us the reader too.  Her past had damaged her, and she didn’t see herself worthy in others eyes.  Her walls were impossibly high.  But as the story started to unfold, Jane realized that others did care for her, and want her in their lives.  That she had formed friendships with Charlotte, Cat and even Levi.  She just wasn’t sure what to do with that, especially when it came to Levi.

“Maybe another time.”
“Why?”
“You’re not ready.”
And then he walked off. She found herself watching him go. “When will I be ready?”
He turned and caught her staring at his ass, and the smile hit his mouth. “Maybe sooner than I thought.”

I loved Levi right away.  Even when he was fighting for consciousness in the beginning, he cracked me up.  He was so charming, but like Jane, he also felt alone.  Levi was different from his family.  Even though they loved him deeply, he hadn’t ever fit in.  And with a heartache past, he tried to distance himself from those that cared for him.  So Levi had a lot of healing to do too.  But being back in Sunrise Cove, he started to find life again and mend relationships with his mom, dad, sister and even an old best friend.  I loved every single thing about Levi.  He was patient, kind, sweet, caring, thoughtful and considerate.  Sigh.

She put her hands on her cheeks. “Are you always such a flirt?”
“No.”
“So why me?”
He smiled at her. “Because when I’m with you, I feel like . . . me.”
Everything inside her softened at that.

 I couldn’t stop smiling when Levi and Jane were together.  They were both outcasts in a way, and understood one other.  And with a life or death situation pushing them to a friendship, I loved watching how they progressed.  They were comfortable around each other and it all felt so seamless.  So when they continued “dating”, to keep up the lie to Levi’s family, I absolutely loved it!  Throw in Levi’s in your face family that pulled some funny antics, and friends that cared deeply for them, this story rounded out so well.  There was a side story about Jane’s good friend, Charlotte, who she stayed with when she was in Tahoe.  And their neighbor/coworker Mateo, who had a tie into Levi’s life.  I absolutely loved their story too and was rooting for them to have a HEA since we got a few povs from them also.

“This is just a kiss,” she informed him, her voice annoyingly soft and breathy.
This had him laughing softly against her as he nibbled her lower lip, then sucked it into his mouth. Someone gasped. Her. Dammit.

Redemption in yourself comes in so many forms.  Whether it was Levi, Jane to even Charlotte, they all needed that desperately.  The Family You Make showed their emotional path to healing, friendship and love.  This story was an emotional journey, I cried multiple times, and it took some longer than others to get there.  But it ended with a fabulous epilogue years in the future and I closed the book oh so happy.  I just love happily ever afters, and this book too!

She lifted her head again, suddenly having trouble drawing air into her lungs. “But you promised. You promised not to fall for me.”
His gaze met hers, his own warm and loving. “Some promises are meant to be broken.”

PS The peaches…..I was dying laughing and had tears pouring down my face.  Peyton, Levi’s niece, is the cutest!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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