by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor #12
Published by Hachette Audio on October 14, 2014
Buy: Amazon, B&N
Add to Goodreads
As the brains behind wedding site TyingTheKnot.com, Callie sees it all: from the ring to the dress, the smiles... to the tears. It's that last part that keeps her single and not looking. Getting left at the altar will do that to a girl. But when Callie returns to her old hometown, she finds that her sweet high school crush is sexier than ever. And he makes it hard to remember why she's sworn off love...
Tanner is a deep-sea diver with a wild, adrenaline-junkie past—and now his teenage son is back in his life. How can Tanner be a role model when he's still paying for his own mistakes? It's hard enough that gorgeous Callie has appeared in town like a beautiful dream, challenging his best-laid plans to keep his heart on lockdown. Though there's something about being around her again that makes him feel like he can be the man she—and his son—deserve. Little Lucky Harbor holds their past; can it hold a beautiful new future?
One In a Million is book #12 and the final book in Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series. I’ve grown quite fond of the series as a whole, so it’s bittersweet to finally finish reading it. One In a Million is okay on its own, but in comparison to most of the other books in the series, I found it disappointing, especially since it’s the series wrap-up.
Callie runs TyingTheKnot.com, where she’s a virtual wedding planner. Her job is ironic, considering the fact that Callie is cynical about love ever since her heart was broken. Her fiancé, Eric, left her at the altar and she has never quite gotten over it. Instead, she tries to help other brides find their happily ever after, though she has to deal with many bridezillas along the way.
Callie moves back to Lucky Harbor in order to keep a close eye on her grandmother, the infamous town gossip, Lucille. Callie’s parents are concerned that Lucille might have a few marbles loose, so they’ve sent Callie to check on her. I’ve been a big fan of Lucille throughout the series, even though she meddles in everyone’s personal lives. Her character is hilarious and endearing.
When Callie moves back, she’s surprised to learn that her high school crush, Tanner, is also back in Lucky Harbor. When Tanner was in high school, his girlfriend became pregnant and it changed everyone’s plans for the future. Instead of going away to college on a football scholarship, Tanner married his girlfriend, enlisted in the Navy, and became a SEAL in order to provide for her and their son, Troy. But the marriage was short-lived and they divorced. Troy is now a typically moody 15-year-old who lives with his mother.
After leaving the military, Tanner worked on an oil rig with his buddies, Sam and Cole. Tanner was injured in an explosion that killed their friend, Gil. Tanner still suffers from that injury, which left him with a limp and recurring pain in his leg. But despite his injury, Tanner is now a deep-sea diver working with Sam and Cole.
During the scene where Callie and Tanner reconnect in the town bakery one morning, I found their chemistry rather forced. I also found Callie’s personality really grating, a trait that I rarely assign to any of Shalvis’s characters. For one thing, their meet-cute isn’t very cute at all. During an attempt at conversation, Callie chokes on her doughnut at least three times whenever she tries to speak to Tanner. Really? Get it together, Callie. She comes across as clumsy and bumbling, but not in a charming way at all.
Secondly, throughout this scene—and the rest of the book, actually—I felt that Callie was way more into Tanner than he was into her. When they talk to each other again for the first time in a long while, Callie assumes that Tanner doesn’t remember who she is. He does—but I wondered, why would he? In high school, he was a popular jock who had a girlfriend. Callie was a shy nerd who the jocks paid to do their homework for them. I had trouble believing that Tanner would remember Callie after graduation, not to mention after all the experiences he had while in the military. He and Callie never even dated in high school, yet she was so memorable to him? Why? I didn’t buy it.
Additionally, I felt that Callie and Tanner were the inevitable conclusion, given that everyone else in Lucky Harbor seems to have paired up. At one point, Callie’s friends (Becca and Olivia) say something like, “Oh yes, Tanner would be perfect for you.” Is it because all the other single guys are taken? Serious question. Because I just didn’t believe they’re such a perfect match for any other reason. It was more like, there’s no one else left, so you two might as well get together.
Aside from the believability issues I had with the romance aspect, there’s a lot of family drama that I didn’t care for. Tanner’s son, Troy, re-enters his life in a big way and I just didn’t enjoy all of the moody teenage subplot stuff that’s a large part of the book. View Spoiler »Of course Tanner’s role as a father is an important part of his life, but I thought it was a bit too convenient that Tanner’s ex-wife is so willing to take a backseat role as a parent, allowing Troy to move in with Tanner. It’s like Tanner, Callie, and Troy can be this little insta-family now. It was too perfect and nicely wrapped up for me. « Hide Spoiler
Overall, this is definitely not one of my favorite books by Shalvis. On its own, maybe it would be an okay read, but considering that the majority of the other books in the series have been 4-star and 5-star reads for me, I found this one lacking. I also had higher expectations since it’s the final book.
In retrospect, I think I enjoyed books 1-3 the most, with my favorite couples being Chloe and Sawyer, along with Tara and Ford. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend One In a Million unless you’ve read all the preceding books and feel the need to close out the series.
It pains me to rate a Shalvis book so low, but I really didn’t enjoy this one.
Rating: 2 stars