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New Release Review and Giveway! THE SUMMER DEAL by Jill Shalvis (Wildstone #5)

The Summer Deal cover

Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that’s left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone.

And then there’s Kinsey Davis, who after battling serious health issues her entire twenty-nine years of life, is tired of hoping for . . . well, anything. She’s fierce, tough, and she’s keeping more than one bombshell of a secret from Brynn — her long-time frenemy.

But then Brynn runs into Kinsey’s best friend, Eli, renewing her childhood crush. The good news: he’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell.

The bad news: when he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it’ll result in finding a piece of herself she didn’t even know was missing. She could have real connections, possibly love, and a future—if she can only learn to let go of the past.

As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that’s right in front of them.

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OMG, I am loving this series so hard!

The Summer Deal is a contemporary romance hidden inside a women’s fiction novel (ugh, I really dislike that term, but apparently it’s here to stay)–as are the rest of the books in this series, really. Told from three POVs–Brynn, Kinsey, and Eli–you’d be hard pressed to say whether Brynn and Eli’s or Brynn and Kinsey’s relationship is the more satisfying one to read about.

As is customary in Ms Shalvis’s books, the secondary characters here nearly steal the show–I adored Max (Eli’s half brother and the forth roommate in the house the three POV characters live in), Deck (Kinsley’s love interest; if this were a straight up contemporary romance we would have had his POV too!), Brynn’s moms Olive and Raina, and of course the animals, Catherine the Great Cat and Mini. They all played their part, bringing the story to an extremely colorful life. Then there’s the setting–OMG, I’ve never wanted to be at the beach so badly as while I was reading this…

But I digress.

I only have two complaints (beyond the women’s fiction label) here. First, secrets (mostly Kinsey’s, though Brynn wasn’t blameless here) were held just a little *too* long here. Ms Shalvis did her best to convince us that they both felt they needed to keep them, but at the same time both knew that they did so far past the point where they should have, and it was frustrating. Second, Brynn’s past hurts just didn’t seem to live up to the emotional scarring she apparently had from them. I get the grudge she had against Kinsey–I am the queen of keeping grudges, so I felt her there!–but other childhood bullying (over her lesbian moms and…wearing glasses, I guess?) and one bad relationship (admittedly, she just had that bad relationship, and it did end in one heck of a betrayal, so at least that wound was fresh) really shouldn’t have affected her as much as they did here. Fortunately she was eventually able to move on, but with as fabulous as her relationship with her moms was, it was hard to buy her “I never really fit in anywhere before” complaint. Sure, they were smothering, but she clearly fit with them, so…

Honestly, though, even with that super long paragraph I just wrote, I only took off a half a star, so what does that tell you? 😉

One thing that I really liked about this book is that (view spoiler) Honestly, I liked it so much better this way, because it kept the book’s focus on establishing and growing relationships, exactly where it should be.

And OMG, that epilogue–with the most perfect, most Kinsey-ish final line! 😀

Like the other books in this series, The Summer Deal absolutely works as a standalone. It’s set in the same town as all the others (Wildstone, obvs) but other than that there was no relationship to the other stores. So–a great place to start, but do yourself a favor and read them all! 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Jill Shalvis author photo

About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website,, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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  1. Rita Wray Rita Wray

    Hopefully a vacation in Tahoe, NV.

  2. No plans can be relaxing too, if you throw some quality me time in there! Have a good summer 🙂

  3. Excellent! I used to love camping with my parents, and years later my kids loved going with them too. Have a great time! (And keep everyone away from poison ivy…)

  4. Nancy Payette Nancy Payette

    Trips to the beach & pool. Thanks for the chance.

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