cover image Sweet Little Lies

Sweet Little Lies

Jill Shalvis. Avon, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-244802-6

It’s always such a pleasure to read Shalvis’s contemporary romances, and this one—the exciting first in a series—is no exception. Readers will be hooked from the moment they meet Thor, a rescue dog who’s a “tubby, afraid-of-his-own-shadow mutt,” and his human, Pru Harris, who captains a San Francisco Bay tour boat. Add in Finn O’Riley, co-owner of O’Riley’s Pub, and the heartwarming vibe is almost overwhelming; each character is cuddlier than the next. But Shalvis knows exactly how far to push the adorability, and never lets her sweet tale become saccharine. The characters are perfectly imperfect. As Pru tries her best to help Finn find a date while fighting off her own attraction to him, there lurks the little matter of those eponymous lies. They’re really nothing more than innocent omissions, but the longer Pru postpones coming clean to Finn about the secrets she’s keeping, the greater the threat to their eventual happiness together with Thor flopped contentedly at their feet. The whole package—the glamorous big city locale, the appealing secondary characters, and that Shalvis magic with snappy dialogue—portends a dynamite series. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (July)