Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis

Sweet Little Lies  by Jill ShalvisSweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #1
Published by Avon on June 28th 2016
Pages: 384
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Choose the one guy you can’t have . . .
As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land. Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.
Fall for him—hard . . .
Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends. When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze. But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone. Fast.
And then tell him the truth.
Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire. But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything. . . .

The trend of brainless, witless and spineless female leads appears to be Jill Shalvis’s hallmark of late and I find myself barely pulling out my hair in frustration before the halfway point is really reached.

The setup is perfect: a bar owner who has worked his arse off to get him and his brother where they are today meets a sexy captain of a boat and gets involved, but said captain’s secret threatens to destroy what they have. Yet honesty, apparently, seems to take a backseat because the guy’s too hot and everything she’s ever wanted, leaving the predictable trajectory of the story veering towards a conflict that is not only predictable, but highly annoying considering mostly deception and lies by omission drive the plot. If I’d initially thought Pru had a noble, but ultimately misguided intention of repaying everything that her parents had done, that impression quickly degenerated into disgust when she chooses not to heed her friend’s warning (as well as her own instinct) to be honest with Finn, finding every opportunity to shirk that particular responsibility. Going further to believe that getting Finn to fall for her more so he wouldn’t let her go after he learns the truth made her even stupider that I thought she would ever be.

The consequences are so cringe-worthy that I’m repulsed just anticipating it. Isn’t there a different type of conflict that Ms. Shalvis could have set up past Pru’s questionable behaviour? Or is this the only route that romance readers demand and blindly accept because it’s simply a stale, but reliable staple of rom-com? Part of me feels mean for even thinking that sticking to a tried and tested formula (though not always successful) is simply sloppy planning and execution.

Perhaps it’s my cynicism and inability to tolerate such weak and stupid women that I nearly couldn’t finish the book at all. Here’s hoping to something else different in the future, but even then, I’m not entirely too optimistic now, despite the other great characters who are primed for their own books.