Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis
Narrator: Erin Mallon
Series: Wildstone #4
Published by HarperAudio on January 21, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hours, 34 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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.
Every book in this Wildstone series, has some seriously funny parts (which I always love) and some honestly real, personal issues for the characters to handle. There doesn’t seem to be a strong connection between the books other than the town. (This means you don’t really have to read the series in order)
Almost Just Friends is centered around a family of three adult children. Piper is the oldest and has almost raised her two younger siblings after both their parents and then grandparents died. She follows a tried and true method of stuffing down her feelings and not getting involved to keep from getting hurt.
The main story is about Piper and how she both reaches personal goals AND a romance through her character growth. Her two siblings, have issues and secrets with their lives. The side stories about her siblings added depth to her character progression but geez, it would all be simpler if they just talked to each other!
Cam has his own rut where he has been in the military and on his own for years, and previously lived with his Mom before she died. His brother lived with his dad and now due to a variety of events, he is on leave visiting his dad. They live next door and there’s a bunch of connections there as Cam’s brother and Piper’s sister were best friends. Cam is getting to know his dad (and he’s a trip!)
There are plenty of bad decisions made in early adulthood on display, as well as people growing up and making a better life. I found the sweet, funny, hot romance here as well as the realistic aspects of what I like to call life fiction.
I have been listening to more books with the narrator recently. She does have some distinct male and female voices but sometimes I think a voice is someone from another book. I really enjoy the husky quality of her male voices, almost more than her female voices. I was able to listen at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip:
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Friends
Good to know that the books in the series stand alone very well. Can’t wait to start and also glad you’re enjoying the narrator. It’s a real asset for a female narrator to master male voices. Great review, Anne?
Thank you! Jill Shalvis is a auto-read author for me.
I read this but love Erin as a narrator. This series has been such fun!
This series seems a bit more life fiction than contemporary romance. But it is still classic Shalvis with some realistic characters, grabbing my emotions and giving me the sexy sweetness.
Jill writes wonderful stories and I would like to try this series. What a lovely cover too.
I hope you will. I am a big Jill fan.
I just finished this book yesterday morning and really enjoyed it. I have to agree that so much could have been solved if everyone had just talked to one another. I am happy to hear that the audio was so well done. Great review!
Thank you. Jill Shalvis is someone I always want to read. I always get the audio because I love the contact for audio and on Edelweiss they won’t ever approve me! So the not talking to people is immature but quite realistic as no one wants conflict or to feel like they let someone down.
Does Erin narrate all the books in the series, or is each a different narrator? I’ve listened to a book or two from her, but I do see her name everywhere. Trying to decide if I want to listen to this series.
The first 2.5 were Karen White and the last 2 have been Erin Mallon. So I don’t know what will happen with the next. Something similar with Heartbreaker Bay, the first ones are all Karen White, then 2 by Vivienne Leheny and the last one by Erin Mallon. My preference has been to either have the same narrator for the series or a different one for each book if it is a new couple in each book. They are all good narrators but I have a special attachment to Karen White.
I love the cover on this one, Anne, and it sounds like the inside is just as engaging and charming. Lovely review, and I love that term- “life fiction!”
Thank you! Life fiction is what it is, not women’s fiction, so that is what I say. Life fiction is more about people and relationships than just one couple’s romance.