Bite Sized Books: The Wilder Series - Jill Shalvis

12 September 2015

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Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Smalltown Romance
My Rating:
The first in a sensational new series, Jill Shalvis introduces Cameron, Stone, and T.J. Wilder—three bad-boy heroes who effortlessly mix breathtaking adventure and scorching sex appeal...

Get Wild... And Then Get Wilder...

Accountant Katie Kramer is a quintessential good girl—working hard, recycling diligently, all the while trying to ignore the feeling that she doesn't fit in anywhere. That's all she wants. Well, that—and amazing sex, and the kind of daredevil escapade she can look back on when she's crunching numbers in a dusty cubicle. Which explains why she just took a job in Wishful, California, working for Wilder Adventures and Expeditions. Waking up to find a magnificently built stranger towering over her bed—that part defies explanation...

After wandering the planet for months following a life-changing accident, Cameron Wilder has come back to the only home he knows. Under other circumstances, he might be thrilled to find a gorgeous woman sleeping in his cabin, but now, while he'll risk his body taking clients on adrenaline-drenched excursions, his heart is off limits. Still, Katie's killer smile triggers something deep in his gut... among other places. Showing her how exhilarating it can be to stop balancing her life as if it was a checkbook is the biggest rush he's ever felt—and an adventure Katie's wishing would never end...
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Smalltown Romance
My Rating:
Stone Wilder is no less a daredevil bad boy than the rest of his brothers, especially when the thrill of a lifetime is about to arrive in a surprising package. . .
The Doctor Is In Deep
Wishful, California, is 3000 miles from Dr. Emma Sinclair's last job in a New York City ER. Running her father's clinic for a summer, Emma treats bee stings, stomach flu, and the occasional pet cat. Then there's Stone Wilder: gorgeous, laid-back, and irritating beyond belief. Emma loathes him. Almost as much as she wants to throw him on her examining table and break every doctor-patient rule in the book. . .
Paging Dr. Sinclair. . .

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Smalltown Romance
My Rating:
To Harley, the landscape around Wishful, California, is exhilarating, untamed, and more than a little dangerous. The same could be said for T.J. Wilder, who's invited himself along on her trek to study a rare coyote. Harley's career is riding on this trip, and she doesn't need a stubborn, incredibly sexy distraction. But T.J. is a professional guide who knows when to stay back and when to provide invaluable expertise - just like he's done since they were in high school. And Harley, as usual, is torn between throttling him and giving in to the raw attraction that's been smoldering all these years. T.J. knows how proud and capable Harley is, but he's damned sure not letting her put herself at risk when there are illegal hunters in the area. She needs him, with the same soul-stirring urgency that he's always craved her. And here, in this beautiful place days from civilization, he'll finally have a chance to prove it - over and over again...
As you have probably seen from various Sunday Summaries, I have been slowly working my way through Shalvis’s back catalogue because I can, and I felt it fit perfectly with my Bite Sized Books reviews to let you know my thoughts on this series. I saw her Wilder series going cheap for Kindle a month or so back and decided to treat myself, I knew I would quickly get through it and it’s best to always have a light and fun romance series to hand for those down days. This is that series for me, it was fund and light and such an easy read, as Shalvis’s books normally are and I want to tell you about it, especially as this is one of Shalvis’s earlier series so most folks haven’t even heard of it.

It’s steamy, sexy romance series filled with fun, witty banter and adventure. You have your perfect trio of alpha male brothers living in a small mountain top town and three very different women who were strong and knew who they were. Combine the two groups together and you get a trio of books with relationship drama, the usual sexy scenes, and a really fun read which keeps you hooked throughout. It helps that it’s set in a mountain top town where the brothers run their own adventure business giving tours to people, arranging hikes up the mountain, and let’s not forget the skiing and snowboarding, and that’s just the local stuff they get up to! I must admit it does kind of make me want to try skiing, because it sounds damn fun.

I hold my hands up and say the first book, Instant Attraction, did leave me with some initial doubts, but too often the first book in a romance series does. It’s the book where the entire cast of characters are introduced, you are learning the setting and what’s going on and deciding if you are going to like everyone. The real reason I didn’t like it, though, is the romance felt so damned rushed! Who would have thought I would say that about a romance? It did, though, it was almost a case of insta-love, which is a hard thing to complain about in a romance, I know. I suppose I should have taken the hint from the book title, and known that there would be ‘Instant Attraction’ between the characters Katie and Cameron, but I didn’t quite expect how it went down. It took too long to figure out why these characters liked one another because it certainly wasn’t based on what they knew of each others sparkling personalities. They were both just introduced and then boom they were contemplating sleeping with each other. I know that is how romance goes down, but I needed a bit of build up, you know?

I don’t know, my issues with the first book are petty and pretty vague, and it was really just a general sense of disconnect with it, and I think that is partly down to this being an early series of Shalvis’s. I can happily say that I liked the second and third book much more. Shalvis may have managed to get into the groove of writing, created more likable characters, or simply the stories were more my jam in these books. I don’t really care what the reason is.

The second book, Instant Gratification, was a much more enjoyable read for me. It was probably my favourite book of this little series simply because I adored Stone Wilder and his relationship with Emma in this book. I admit, in the first book Stone seemed far more serious than he does in the second, and I think that’s why I enjoyed it. You see this whole other side to the character of Stone, he is serious and has taken lots of responsibilities in the business the brother’s run together, but he is laid back and fun as well. It is that fun-loving side that comes out as he tries to get the new doctor, Emma, to relax and have fun. Emma was more uptight and it took a bit longer to connect with her, but I like when characters have to work for that sense of connection, because then you enjoy it all the more.

I loved the easy going fun vibe that happened in this book. And I do love a book with a bit of family drama, and you get a bit of that with Emma and her father, the old doctor who suffered a heart attack, leading his daughter to run his practise. I loved how the relationship with the father and daughter grew and I loved how poor Stone was stuck in the middle. I don’t know, it was a great and fun read and a definite highlight of the series for me, it was filled with fun banter and adventure. This is the book where you see more of what the brothers do and you saw another side to the family as it demonstrated how close the family as a whole was, I think it helped that the three brothers all feature more prominently in this book so you get a true look at the family dynamic.

A close second, or maybe joint first, for favourite is Instant Temptation. I love me a good love/hate relationship, and you definitely get that with TJ and Harley. The couple have grown up with each other and have known each other their entire life, but for reasons unknown to TJ, Harley has a need to constantly fight with him. I really enjoyed the conflict and sharp banter between this couple. Everyone knows that arguing between a couple is an excellent sign for them, and this is most definitely true of this pair because they had chemistry and a half! Also, Harley’s sister was perfect, I think she may have been my favourite secondary character because she was so fun.

The thing I disliked about the third book, making it be a very closer runner up to being favourite? The whole little side story they had going about Harley’s research into coyotes in a local area. It felt very tagged in to be able to have the pair go off into the wilderness, and never fully developed when there was a very obvious story there! I know, it’s romance, you do not always have the most complex of plotlines, but there was potential for more and it frustrated me it didn’t get to explore that. I know, I may get that joy in another book, the mystery and intrigue, but it was hinted at perfectly in this one. It’s a minor complaint, though, so I will take it no further.

Basically, this little series is fun and the perfect little romance series. I would probably recommend some of Shalvis’s other books over this one, but I would never discourage you from reading these either. This is probably a series to visit after you’ve explored some of her other books, but they are perfect if you are craving some easy romance one evening.

Do you ever find yourself discovering small gems that show an author’s progress when looking into everything they’ve written ever? And also I’d love to hear your thoughts on this series, or any other series of Shalvis’s, and if you have a good recommendation for any other small town romances let me know, I seem to have a soft spot for them lately.
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