Hot Holidays & 2nd Chances: Shalvis’s THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE


TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE CoverA Heartbreaker Bay Novel
Book Two
Harper Collins/Avon
September 27, 2016
ISBN 978-0062448040
Print, Electronic and Audio Editions available

E-Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.





If she has her way…

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her…

…He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him…

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice…

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but he doesn’t even remember her. How can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish–and let the mistletoe do its work…


My Take Oblong Shaped

Shalvis writes characters who have been damaged by their parents and/or the “system.” Often they’ve had bad relationships.  It is the prevailing theme in her books.   She also writes about the power of love and family to, if not cure, at least ameliorate the damage.  Shalvis almost always offers everyone in her stories second chances and that is also important here.  They are hopeful when the characters face desperate circumstances.

This book is no exception and brings some of the sexiest and sultriest lovemaking I have ever read to the page.  Along with the hot times, she brings to life a tiny community in one apartment house building, and some nearby businesses, in San Franscisco.  This particular book doesn’t share much of the larger city, but that small community and its denizens are well captured.

And, who wouldn’t be a sucker for the main female love interest with her love for all things animal and holiday.  Her paramour is also pretty lovable – he’s handle with all kinds of tools and a self-made man.  The way the couple brings the holidays home and how Willa goes wild and loving with the spirit of the season is really enjoyable.  

I found a couple of memorable lines in the book and one is, weirdly about condom use where she writes “he [Keane] protected them both:” I liked how it implied a twoness, a duet of protection for the two. Something about it was really touching.

While I confess I am so curious as to why Shalvis uses the bad parent theme throughout her series, I love the repeating animal rescue and animal lover themes in several of her series. Animals are symbols of unconditional love and emotional support and further her theme of repair and redemption through love.  

I really like this series, including the first book in the series SWEET LITTLE LIES. The Bay area gives her room to explore and opens up wider and more urban landscape in which to place her characters.  If you love animals and hot love scenes with dynamic characters then I highly recommend THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE. 


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