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Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Animal Magnetism, Book 1
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 304 Pages
Formats: Paperback, Kindle


What I Needed, When I Needed It


Family obligation could be a pain, but Brady Miller could no longer ignore his brothers' cajoling, bribes, and pleas to get him back to Sunshine, Idaho, the small town in which they had shared a foster home when they were teens. His brothers - maybe not by blood, but in his heart - call Sunshine home. Brady doesn't. In fact, Brady doesn't call anyplace home. He goes where he wants and does what he wants, and so long as he's got a helicopter to fly and places no sane man would consider flying it, he's as content as any man could hope to expect.

Still, those brothers of his nagged for years, and then they started to play dirty. Return to Sunshine and get his hands on a sweet chopper they had picked up to help them with their veterinarian clinic. That's the only reason he finally let himself be dragged back to Sunshine. He's not there to stay. He never, ever stays. Anywhere.

He can't say his first trip back in more years than he could count is going particularly well, though. Not after his truck is rear-ended while harmlessly parked at the convenience store. And he hasn't even made it to his brothers' clinic yet.

Lilah Young is mortified by the accident and more than a little concerned. Money is particularly tight right now. She could barely afford to feed herself, so paying for the damage wasn't going to be easy.

At least the guy whose truck she hit seems fairly understanding and unfazed by the box of puppies, baby potbelly pig, and leashed duck that tries to make a break for it when she gets out of her Jeep. He's a tall, rangy, handsome man, for sure, and his looks alone definitely perk up Lilah's pulse. Living in a small town like Sunshine meant most men in town were her life-long friends, but Brady Miller wasn't the sort who looked liked he had female friends...just satisfied lovers. Very well satisfied lovers.

No reason not to act on mutual attraction that she could see. Besides, Brady wasn't going to be around long enough to threaten her heart and she could use the sort of threat to her body a man like him could provide.

Something about Lilah appeals to Brady deep inside, to an area that feels suspiciously close to his heart, and her enthusiasm for a short term relationship is better than he expected. Though...she could have looked a little less content with the idea of him leaving in a month. And he isn't fond of all the male attention she draws in this small town of hers...still...it's for the best that she not get too attached to him. It wasn't like he was going to be around for long.

And really, there's nothing wrong with just enjoying their inherent animal magnetism.

~*~
Ever start reading a book and feel like both your mind and body relaxes as you get into it? Or...uh...is that just me? Well, whether you have or not (or if I need therapy or not), it's a great feeling. Sometimes I go looking for that feeling, using it as sort of a mental palate cleanser between books of darker or more intense themes. There are a few authors I consider a fairly sure bet for those sorts of reads - the light, sexy reads that I know, even before I start, will at least have a smooth story without a lot of emotional ups and downs, then provide a gushingly happy ending.

Jill Shalvis has become one of my go-to authors for this sort of read. I love her characters and find her stories fun and easy to read. There is always great chemistry between the male and female leads, and each has just enough depth and internal conflict to keep the characters three dimensional and interesting but minus the angst and emotional torture that some authors are so good at inflicting on their characters. Those can be compelling, absolutely, and I love angst and emotional torture as much as the next gal, but sometimes I just want...well...high calorie, high octane brain candy.

Animal Magnetism is what I call some delicious brain candy.

And, okay, I have to admit, I have a particular weakness for books that feature male characters who get exactly what they want (or have always wanted before), then get disgruntled when they find out it's not as satisfying as they thought it would be. Brady knew he was leaving from the start and is totally on board with Lilah's short term relationship suggestion...then, as the story progresses, he gets a little surlier every time she seems so calm and unconcerned whenever the subject of his leaving comes up. Stuff like that amuses me every time.

The story was the sort of quirky, light fun that sets Shalvis apart as a favorite of mine, and I thoroughly enjoyed the menagerie of pets we see in it. I easily related to Lilah's career and issues with fostering animals, and there is something I find inherently appealing about a helpless guy falling for a silly little dog. I'm a total sucker for animals in general, and in books they are a great source of emotional connection for me, so of course the backdrop of the vet clinic and the boarding kennels were a big hit. All combined, the story arc and setting really worked for me, more so even than several of the other Shalvis stories I've read.

I did have a couple of issues of various severity, one a major continuity conflict. On one page just prior to chapter nine, Lilah was holding Twinkles, then set him down, and another dog, Lucky, sniffed him and curled up with him. Less than two pages later, at the start chapter nine, the dog was back in her arms and Brady took him from her and set him down, then snapped his fingers at Lucky for him to join the pup. It was a fairly blatant error in the narrative and it snapped me right out of the story.

There was also a distressing amount of missing quotation marks in the Kindle version I read. It made it difficult to follow the affected conversations or know when it had started. If I was reading an ARC I wouldn't mention it, assuming it was something that would be caught before release, but I read the published Kindle version. The blatant continuity conflict should have been caught in an editing phase and the missing quotation marks should have been fixed before commercial release.

Those issues don't take away from the fact that I've been needing to just relax with a book, to not have to think too hard, or suss out subtle plot points, or worry about context and meaning. I wanted some sexy banter, hot and likable characters, a few sizzling sex scenes, a conflict that wasn't too conflicting, and a sure-bet happy ending. I can't express how happy I am that I got exactly that from this fun - and a little furry - book.

Getting exactly what you want in a book exactly when you need it the most? Priceless.

Quotables:
You look fantastic today. I especially love the sarcasm and attitude you're wearing.

Is that your favorite question, 'why'?.
Yes. Right after "Are the donuts two-for-one today?"

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Ratings Guide

Here is a rundown of what the star ratings mean to me! It's not a perfect system, so you may see me add in a .5 star here and there if my impression of the book falls somewhere between these:

5 Stars - Loved it
4 Stars - Liked it
3 Stars - It's okay
2 Stars - Didn't like it
1 Star - Hated it

2014 Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Tracy has read 22 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Tracy's bookshelf: read

Zero at the BoneHead Over HeelsLord of the WolfynIn Total SurrenderA Win-Win PropositionNorth of Need

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