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Almost Just Friends: A Novel (The Wildstone Series, 4) Hardcover – January 21, 2020
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USA Today Bestseller
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Wildstone with the touching story of finding your place in the world—and the people who make it home.
Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.
When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.
Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.
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From the Publisher
“Tender … Believable, realistic characters are at the heart of this novel. Shalvis will immediately grab the reader’s attention with a strong heroine and caring connection between two wounded souls.” — Publishers Weekly
“Fans of the TV drama series This Is Us as well as love stories ripe with secrets waiting to be spilled will devour Shalvis’s latest in the series.” — Library Journal
“Readers will be very satisfied with the ending of Shalvis' latest enjoyable Wildstone story.” — Booklist
“Shalvis' latest retains her spark and sizzle.” — Kirkus Reviews
Praise for The Lemon Sisters: “Sisterhood takes center stage in this utterly absorbing novel. Jill Shalvis balances her trademark sunny optimism and humor with unforgettable real-life drama. A book to savor--and share.” — Susan Wiggs, New York Times Bestselling Author
“Jill Shalvis’s books are funny, warm, charming and unforgettable.” — RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author
“I love everything about this book, the family dynamics, the humor and the amazing romance. Just amazing!” — Lori Foster, New York Times Bestselling Author
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 novels wherever books are sold and visit her website, jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
- Publisher : Avon (January 21, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006296139X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062961396
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.21 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2020
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BUT 10 DAYS STUCK ON A BOAT…BLOODY HELL, THAT WAS HARD WORK!
I love them… but, geez, I don’t like them sometimes. Family dynamics are a wonderful thing. One day we’re all happy, happy, joy, joy (that could have been the wine talking). The next day, there are tears, tantrums and screaming matches (too many wine days, not enough water days). I guess it’s been a wee while since I’ve spent days with my sisters and parents. We love, trust and care for each other which gives us the freedom to be honest, straight-forward and even a little blunt. Honestly, a lot of it was a blast and I loved spending time with my family but I’ve never been so bloody happy to be home from a holiday.
It cracked me up that again, Jill Shalvis has written something so relevant to me and my life. Almost Just Friends is all about family dynamics. I recognised the bossy elder sister who lectures instead of listens. I know that little sister who is determined to be strong and independent… with a little help from family. I may also be somewhat like the middle “peacekeeper” who has been known to go off the rails but never meant to be a burden.
Now, all these traits do not define us (the characters and my siblings) as we can and are so much more. The bossiness comes from love and a need to see their family happy and content. The need to show her independence is from an acceptance that she can do anything because of the love and support at their back. That peacekeeper has seen some tough times so now we want everyone we love to avoid the tough times and lead their best lives.
Almost Just Friends is not just about the family dynamics, though. This story is about a woman who has put aside her wants and needs to raise her siblings. The journal she keeps was her way to stay on track and plan for the future. Piper notes what she hopes to achieve and ticks her successes and rewrites what still needs to happen. Things are finally getting to a stage where she thinks things are going smooth…ish and now Piper can start her own adventure.
Of course, when it comes to family, nothing is ever smooth and of course, the love of your life… I mean, the man of the moment, gets to witness every messy detail.
Camden’s younger brother Rowan died, and the last words Cam said to him were in anger. Now, Cam is trying to fix the mistakes of his past and find his own piece of happiness. Days after his arrival home to visit with his dad, a storm blows in changing everything. One woman is the calm in the middle of the storm. Piper challenges him to be better and makes it easy to laugh again. She’s not looking for a relationship but with the sparks they set off in each other, Cam’s sure she’s his permanent light.
I am convinced that Jill Shalvis writes for me alone. It’s like she knows what I want to read when I want to read it. Almost Just Friends had the perfect mix of humour, emotion and conflict, with a healthy dose of sexy times added for my pleasure. There were times that I found the simultaneous family fireworks (real-life and book life) helped me get through the dramas. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who loves their family while also wanting to murder them.
If you’re a fan of Jill Shalvis, this is one of her best and if you haven’t tried her yet… DO IT! If you’ve followed the Wildstone series, this is a great addition to the series, if you haven't started it yet… DO IT! I highly recommend giving Almost Just Friends a try.
Stacey is Sassy, received an advanced copy of this story. The copy provided is not the final copy and may be subject to edits and changes.
Piper Manning grew up in Wildstone and has stayed there as a EMT. She pretty much took care of her younger two siblings and was both their older sister and their parent. And she might have a few issues as a result. And no one can ever call her a gourmet cook, although she can whip up a mean mac 'n' cheese with cut up hot dogs. And Piper is very skeptical of men and love as well. But she does care about her people, especially her neighbor, Emmitt.
Cam Hughes is a DEA agent and Coast Guard reservist who is really a Wildstone boy despite having grown up in North Carolina. His parents separated when he and his younger brother were young and the boys were split between their parents. Cam being the older of the two boys went to live on the east coast with his mother. Having served in the Coast Guard, he has moved agencies and is now in the DEA. But he is in Wildstone to spend some time with his dad, Emmitt, after the death of his younger brother.
Piper encounter Cam on a dark and stormy night and has a close encounter with the hot, sexy, stranger. These are the only types of encounters she will allow herself. And she is beyond shocked to discover her hot, sexy guy is next door when she goes to check on Emmitt. And even more shocked to discover he is Emmitt's son and planning to stay around for awhile.
Throw in her younger brother Garrett coming back home with his own secrets including trying to stay sober and still in love with his high school boyfriend who has become a hot and sexy cop. Her younger sister, Winnie, is back home and pregnant but not willing to tell Piper just yet although Garrett has it figured out. Nor is Winnie willing to tell anyone but Cam that the father is Rowan, his brother.
With all of these secrets and issues, plus the wonderful wild scenery and a few of the eccentric characters of Wildstone, this book is a wonderful addition to the Wildstone series. Each book in this series can be read as a stand alone although reading them all is always encouraged since you have a chance to meet the other wonderful wacky characters of this unique town.
I did receive a copy of this novel in advance from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Top reviews from other countries
Piper is the main character, a truly strong, independent woman who has sacrificed much to raise her siblings, just when she truly believes she can see the light at the end of the tunnel and a chance to start living the life she wants fate bounces her siblings back into her life with all their attached drama and baggage! Fate also brings new "hot guy" Cam into her life at the same time, he has his own demons and heartache to battle but their growing relationship is wonderfully written. Piper has always put everyone else first, she uses her journal and beloved lists as an emotional crutch but desperately wants someone to simply put her first and love her although she ultimately believes she is not worth it.
It's a story of chaotic issue-filled family life with wonderful characters who are far from perfect, but they deal with what life throws at them in the best way they can or at least what they think is the best way. The bonus of this story is you also get the interaction and stories of the secondary characters Gavin, Winnie (Piper's siblings) and Emmett (Cam's Dad).
Never really having read a Jill Shalvis story I didn't like it's hard to pick favourites, but this has to be one of them, a truly excellent read that I highly recommend.