Publish Date: May 28th
How I got this book: NetGalley
Ali Winters is not having a good day. Her boyfriend left her, everyone in town thinks she’s a thief, and now she’s about to be kicked out of her home. Her only shot at keeping a roof over her head and clearing her name is to beg for help from a police detective who’s as sexy as he is stern….
After a high-profile case goes wrong, Luke Hanover returns to his hometown for some peace and quiet. Instead he finds a bombshell brunette in a heap of trouble. As he helps Ali put her world back together, the pieces of Luke’s own life finally seem to fall into place. Is this the start of a sizzling fling? Or are Luke and Ali on the brink of something big in a little town called Lucky Harbor?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I am a longtime fan of the Lucky Harbor books and Jill Shalvis. With the next trilogy kicking off, I was anxious to see what kind of trouble the Lucky Harbor folks were going to get into this time around. I have to say, while this wasn’t my favorite in the series, it was still a fun and enjoyable read.
Ali is not having a good day. Anything that could go wrong, has gone wrong, and Ali is left in the cold. Luckily for her, her new roommate is a detective on vacation who can help her clear her name. Too bad for Ali he is as smoking hot as he is moody.
Luke has fond memories of his time in Lucky Harbor, and when his life crumbles in the city, he retreats to lick his wounds. The last thing Luke wants hanging around in Ali, especially when he realizes that she needs his help in more ways than one. But as Luke helps Ali clear her name and find out who really stole the town cash, he falls for her in ways he never thought possible.
I thought the setup for this story was cute, but for me the execution wasn’t at the level I expected for Shalvis. The spark that I’ve come to expect with these books wasn’t there for me, and I really just can’t put my finger on why. I liked both Ali and Luke, and while their relationship didn’t progress as quickly as some of the other couples, it was filled with sexual tension. I was a little bummed that we didn’t get a clear idea of whose stories are next in the series, other than Jack and Leah. It felt as if some of the supporting characters and sense of family that we’ve seen in previous books was missing with this one.
Poor Ali was kicked until she was down, and then kicked some more. And yet, she was determined to keep her head up, clear her good name, and find the best in life. She was the kind of inspirational heroine that I enjoy reading about. I felt bad for her though, because although she was friends with Leah, there wasn’t much page time for the two of them, so it seemed as if Ali didn’t have any friends, or anyone to stand up for her when she needed them most. I would have liked to see Shalvis spend more time with the “girlfriends.”
I really liked Luke. Poor guy was dealing with the crazy fall out of a high profile death while he was the leading investigator, and with it a lot of guilt. I liked that Luke’s character was so hard on himself, that he held himself to such a high standard. I liked that although he didn’t seem all that interested in Ali at times, he was willing to do just about anything to help her clear her name.
Their relationship is probably where I struggled with the most in this book. I felt like things moved at a molasses pace, and that the sexual tension wasn’t fully explored. I would have liked to see them either move a little bit quicker, or develop a deeper connection. Compared to the previous Shalvis books I’ve read, this seemed to be the weakest in the romance department, and that was a bit of a disappointment, because I absolutely love her humor.
Although we didn’t get a ton of page time with Jack and Leah, I am very excited to read about them, especially since they are friends who become more. As it’s one of my favorite tropes, I can’t wait to see what kind of fun and fresh take Shalvis will bring.
All in all this wasn’t my favorite Lucky Harbor book. I thought the romance didn’t develop as well as it could have, and although the main characters were wonderful, I would have liked to see them get together as a couple a bit sooner than they did. However, Shalvis fans will be glad to be back in Lucky Harbor and seeing all the usual suspects.
I give It Had To Be You a B-
Thanks to Grand Central Publishing, we have one copy of It Had To Be You to giveaway. To be entered, just let us know which Lucky Harbor book is your favorite so far. Giveaway is open to US only and ends May 31st. Good Luck!