Monday, June 25, 2012

ARC Review: At Last

At Last
Jill Shalvis
Contemporary Romance
Lucky Harbor/Book 5
Grand Central Publishing/June 26, 2012


Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she's looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. And even though she's tempted to kiss that sexy smile right off his face, she won't make the mistake of getting involved with the town heartthrob.

A former cop whose life went south, Matt doesn't let anyone get too close. But something about the feisty beauty caught his eye the moment he first saw her in the diner. After a hot night under a starry sky, Matt can't deny their attraction-or the fact that for the first time in a long time, he feels the stirrings of something more. Now it's up to Matt to help Amy see that, no matter what is in their past, together they can build a future in Lucky Harbor.

The Lucky Harbor series is one of my favorite contemporary series and to have three, back to back releases just thrills me!  At Last is the second release this year and another stunning entry for the series about women with issues, men with issues, women who love chocolate and men who love women who love chocolate.  The trademark Shalvis humor is very much present and so appreciated.  Shalvis has a way of balancing the serious with the humorous and not letting the story get too dark but still giving readers something to think about.  

I've been so curious about what has been going on between Amy and Matt.  There is a tension when they're both in the same room.  It's not a bad tension but more of a "I want you but I must resist" impression from Amy and Matt... well, Matt's a guy so he just plain wants her, no attempts to resist on his part.   Which only makes Amy more tense.  It's a vicious cycle and something has to give. 

Amy Michaels' fresh start in Lucky Harbor is going well.  She has a job she enjoys and has made some good friends.  She also has the serious hots for Ranger Bowers but refuses to act on those feelings.  Amy has this tough girl exterior covering a heart of gold.  I found her very relatable even though it takes a while to truly get to know her and her secrets. I really enjoyed reading about Amy's quest to find her family history in Lucky Harbor.  Learning about that history with Amy made all her actions and emotions connect, giving her character even more depth. 

Ranger Matt Bowers aka Ranger Hot Buns is definitely an outdoorsman.  His job keeps him on the move throughout the mountains and hiking trails near Lucky Harbor. He has this touch of wildness about hims that I found very sexy!  He such a guy, thinking Amy just wants a sex only, no strings relationship.  Come on Matt, you know she wants more and so do you!  Matt also has a few skeletons in his closet he eventually brings out.  It was nice to see he wasn't this perfect guy with no baggage.  Everyone has baggage but Matt prefers to keep his in the past.

The romance of Amy and Matt is so sweet and sexy.  They have this wonderful smart-ass banter that I love!  The chemistry is there in spades with both Amy and Matt very aware of it.  The way they dance around it is fun to watch and makes the reader want to know more about these characters that we've come to care about.  I think that's one of Shalvis' strengths as a writer - she makes the reader care about her characters.  We want them to not only get the guy or girl but be happy beyond the hot sex.  

The town's Facebook page is alive and well.  It's becoming a character in the series, a very nosy, amusing character.   I love the small town feel Lucky Harbor has and while it can feel intrusive like a interfering family member, it's also funny and shows the depth of caring the residents have for their town and it's inhabitants. 

The women in this series are not the only ones with strong friendships.  The men have built that camaraderie too, but in the way guys do through manly physical endeavors.  They tease and joke around but also listen and give advice, not always the best advice but they do try.  It's an interesting look at the male relationship that goes past the stereo typical sitting around, drinking beer and watching the game.

I love the direction Shalvis has taken this series, encompass the different people and places of the town.  It gives the town a complete feeling, getting to know the people who are at the heart of it. If you're looking for a smart, funny, sexy contemporary romance series, look no further.  Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series is it!

Rating: A-

Lucky Harbor Series ~ 

Simply Irresistible 
The Sweetest Thing
Kissing Santa Claus novella in the anthology Small Town Christmas
Head Over Heels
Lucky in Love
At Last 
Forever and a Day (July 31, 2012) 


  1. Glad you enjoyed this one so much, Leslie. I don't know, the tension between Matt and Amy actually turns me off ^_^; Because it feels like something between them has already happened. I kind of find Amy's attitude annoying ^_^;

    I'm thinking I'll read Forever and a Day, because I'm really looking forward to Grace's story. If I like it, then perhaps I'll jump back to At Last...

  2. Nath ~ Good idea. You can always come back to this one if you want to. I think they can be read as stand alone.

  3. I really loved that there was clearly a connection between Amy and Matt before the book started, and that the book clearly explored that before moving on!

    Ranger Hot Buns might just be one of my favourite Lucky Harbour heroes, although they are all pretty good.

  4. Marg ~ LOL Yes, Range Hot Buns was well named. The connection he and Amy had prior to this book just made me even more curious about them.