The Summer Deal (Wildstone)

The Summer Deal
by Jill Shalvis
Release Date:  June 2, 2020
Publisher:  William Morrow
Book #5 in the Wildstone series
Number of pages:  384
Source: Warren Public Library
Chick Lit/Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: PG-13
Read 12/18/20 to 12/20/20

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes a friends-to-frenemies-to-sisters story… And then add in a love story (okay, two love stories). Shake. Stir. Read on a lazy summer day at the beach.

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 pretty much the opposite of Brynn except for one thing: they’re half-sisters. Kinsey is keeping this bombshell, and a few others as well. Long time frenemies from summer camp, there’s no way she’s going to tell Brynn they’re related.

But then Brynn runs into Kinsey’s lifelong best friend, Eli, renewing a childhood crush. He’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell. 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 a sister, 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.

I renewed this book from the library so many times and kept forgetting to actually read the darn thing before I’d have to take it back. Then, I was lucky enough to get an eARC of the next full-length book in this series and, although there really isn’t crossover and the books in the Wildstone series can truly be read as standalones, I knew I had to get cracking. I have some idiosyncrasies, like everyone else, and one of mine is the inability to skip books in a series. Here I was, still far down the list for my e-library, with a big hardcover copy waiting for me. Ever since I started wearing reading glasses, it’s really a lot harder for me to find the time to read paper books. I tend to read in bed a lot. So it says a ton about this book that I was able to read it so quickly. Usually, even when I love a story, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to getting it read. Especially coming up on Christmas!

In case you didn’t get the gist from the above paragraph, I really enjoyed this book. All of the characters were wonderful and had me rooting for them. Even Kinsey, who I wanted to dislike. Really, I did. To be fair, there were things she did I didn’t like. And moments I wanted to scream at her. But as a human being, I couldn’t dislike Kinsey. She had her reasons for doing the things she did, even the terribly witchy things.

Brynn and Eli have great chemistry. I love the way they reconnect and the hoops Brynn jumps through in order to seem so chill and laid back when it comes to her memories of Eli. Brynn has amazing parents but has a hard time really setting boundaries with her moms. Sure, they are pushy and smothering to their only child and have a hard time giving her the space she needs. Brynn is such a pleaser that she just doesn’t speak up as often as she should. In her mind, if her moms are wonderful people and so loving, how can that be a bad thing? Even if it’s holding her back, or even hurting her in a way.

Like I said, this series really has a bunch of stand-alone books that happen to touch on the same small town in California. But I’d love to see more with Eli’s brother. I adore Eli and how hard he works to protect those he considers his. His brother, Kinsey, and even Brynn. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been hurt and that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his own issues. Eli’s issues are deep and festering. With Brynn, those wounds have to be allowed to come to the surface before either of them can truly find their happiness.

As usual, Jill Shalvis has given us a heartwarming and funny tale with lots of chemistry. Both romantic and familial chemistry.

One last quick note, because it’s something I’ve been noticing happening more and more lately. I love the cover of this book, but it really doesn’t fit with this story at all. The three main characters went to summer camp together for a few years, but the scene depicted is not something that would have been their truth. I know the job of the cover is to get the reader to pick up the book, but it’s just curious to me when the covers are so off from the story. At least, in my opinion.

4.5 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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