I just finished reading Instant Temptation, but seeing as it's the third book in a three-book trilogy, somehow talking about it on its own didn't seem right. So I'm going to try to discuss the trilogy as a whole without giving away any spoilers. Wait... Who am I kidding? It's not really possible to "spoil" a romance novel because there's not a one of us who wouldn't be up in arms if the hero and heroine missed out on their Happily Ever After.
First, let me admit to a bit of fan-girly adoration of Jill Shalvis's novels. She's not a perfect writer and I don't adore unreservedly everything she's written, but she is one of a small handful of romance writers on my must-read list. Therefore I approach any new Shalvis novel with the expectation that it's going to be awesome so I may not be entirely un-biased in my reading.
The Instant series tells the stories of the three Wilder brothers (it gets more groan-worthy, trust me): Cam, Stone, and TJ (see?). Together, they run Wilder Adventures (insert eye roll here), a company that offers outdoor adventure expeditions. They all have pain and trauma in their pasts and can only be healed by the love of a good woman (I snark out of love, believe me).
Get past the soap opera names (TJ's honey is named Harley) and the sometimes standard plot devices and read these three novels for what they really are — emotionally fulfilling love stories told with warmth and humor and intelligence. The heroes are all strong and masculine but are not the kind of domineering Alphas that one might expect from men who do dangerous things for a living. The women are smart and independent, but able to accept help when they need it.
Shalvis also has an amazing talent for creating fully-fleshed supporting characters, many of whom have their own story arcs spread out across the three books. The unfolding and evolving story of Annie and Nick was as interesting as that of any of the Wilder brothers.
My only real complaint about this series (aside from the naming, which we've already rolled our eyes at) is that Cam's story — for me the most emotionally resonant — came first, building expectations that it would have been impossible for the next two novels to meet. Once I made the mental separation and was able to judge Stone and TJ's stories on their own, though, I was able to admire the strong writing throughout the series and to find a sense of completion when I finally closed Temptation. The Wilder brothers are going to be living in my thoughts for a long time to come.
÷ ÷ ÷
Billie Bloebaum is a bona fide romance reader and would be reading romance novels even if she weren't reviewing them. She is also a new convert to eBooks, thanks to the writers of the blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, who kindly loaned her a Sony Reader. However, since Billie has a deep and abiding love for the traditional book, she attempts to review books that are available in both formats.
Books mentioned in this post