Merry and Bright

By Jill Shalvis

ISBN: 0758291124

Author’s Website:

Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra


Synopsis:  Merry-and-Bright

Finding Mr. Right
Brilliant chemist Maggie Bell has a knack for choosing Mr. Wrong, and with yet another lonely Christmas looming, she decides it’s time to alter the equation – and seek out someone who seems totally wrong for her. Eureka! The heart is a genius…

Bah, Handsome
Behind on her bills, B&B owner Hope receives an unlikely guest – stranded solicitor Danny, who has been threatening to put her out of business. Funny how the holidays can bring people together no matter how much they resist…

Ms. Humbug
Born rebel or overgrown man child, Matt is the kind of man no woman can tame–until an unexpected encounter with his nemesis, Cami, at the office holiday party proves there is an exception to every rule.


Finding Mr. Right

From the first page I was drawn into Maggie`s plight…and I totally loved her sister`s suggestion! Why not choose Mr. Wrong since Mr. Right (on paper that is) has not worked out in the past (maybe I should take a lesson from her playbook?). As it turns out…Mr. Wrong (aka Jacob) is an old high school crush who just happens to be working as the guy in charge of earthquake retrofitting her office building.

Maggie is insecure (with respect to the opposite sex) and I found the interactions between her and Jacob really drawing me in to their journey.

“What, you’ve never seen a clumsy woman tear her stockings before?” “I’ve never seen a beautiful woman so unaware of herself before.”

Let us not forget the humor as well J In one scene, Jacob is sleeping over (on the couch), Maggie wakes up in the middle of the night with a big thirst so she goes into the kitchen (after standing over Jacob on the couch…peering at him…making noises hoping he will wake up so they could…well you know…). While in the kitchen, Maggie does not turn on the light and then hears a noise. Upshot is it does not end well for either Maggie or Jacob and Maggie asks that Jacob not turn on the lights.

“I told you not to,” Maggie said on a sigh. She was sitting in the opened dishwasher tray in a camisole and panty set, bare legs dangling over the sides, her arms bracing her up as she attempted to lever herself off the broken plates beneath her. “Jesus, Maggie’” She had to be cut all to hell, and he rushed forward to lift her out.

Maggie then leaves abruptly and locks her self in the bathroom while Jacob is trying to insist that he look at her derriere for possible broken glass. At this point, Maggie responds in true Maggie fashion and we get a real hard look at her compulsive side when Jacob accidentally knocks her toothbrush to the ground and he picks it up and places it on the counter:

“Wrong side.” “Huh?” “That’s the toilet side of the counter. Dentists recommend that a toothbrush be kept at least six feet away from the toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. You just put it within four feet. I’ll have to throw it away.”

Besides the really hot story with the really hot Jacob, there was an additional ‘mystery’ which added depth to the story which kept me guessing until the end. Slowly throughout the story there emerges a theme of sabotage and the ‘who’ is a surprise.

Bah, Handsome

Hope O’Brien runs a B&B (her dream) two hours north of Denver but at the moment things are looking dismal. She is behind in paying her bills and with a balloon payment looming in three weeks to her step-brother Edward AND…she has not been with a guy in over eight months, what’s a girl to do. Frustrated on many levels, we catch a glimpse of what it is like to be Hope…. who is quickly loosing hope. While decorating the inn, Hope and her good friend Lori (and support staff for the inn as well as a newlywed) are having a fun time when Lori says the following, which caused a grin to take up residence on my face:

“Mistletoe!” Lori snatched up the dried sprig, and held it to her chest like it was a bar of gold. “You’ve been married six months and still drag Ben into the closet whenever you see him. What could you possibly need with mistletoe?” “It’s for you.” “You want me to kiss me? Well, why didn’t you just say so?” Hope leaned in and puckered up. “Give me your best shot.” Laughing, Lori shoved her away. “I don’t want to kiss you. I want someone else to kiss you. A penis-carrying someone.”

As the evening approaches (and a snowstorm continues to rage outside), there is a knock on the door. Danny Shaw, Edward’s CPA is standing at the door and he is stranded. His rental car is stuck in the snow and he is ill equipped to be in Denver’s winter weather. Side note…. Hope refers to her step brother as “rat bastard”. Hope does not wish to let Danny in but what is the alternative? Let him freeze to death. So she relents and quotes the rate (twice what she normally charges…after all…that is what you charge ‘rat bastards’ isn’t it? 🙂 ). The next morning things start to go downhill as Hope discovers her pipes are frozen. Trust me when I say, from this point in time on it seems that a number of comedic errors occur. Slowly but surely, the two seem to connect on a happier note (and more lust filled I might add).

One particular quote had me laughing and happy that Hope was finally appreciating the geeky accountant:

“City rat bastard had a sharp wit, she’d give him that. And a good ass.” 

Many trials and tribulations to get through (surprisingly given it is a novella) along with more chuckle worthy moments. In the end, a sweet (slightly naughty – given the shed scene!!!) romantic story.

Ms. Humbug  

Cami is a professed workaholic. Here it is three days before Christmas and Cami Bennet is working and contemplating the necessity of going to the office Christmas party. As Cami said on the first page:

She liked the big O’s – order and organization. Orgasms would have been a nice addition to that list, but due to being a little uptight-and, okay, a lot anal – those kinds of O’s were few and far between.

So right off the bat I got a sense of desperation from Cami, not a quality I particularly like. However, there were certainly other redeeming qualities of the story 🙂

With respect to the bathroom scene…. poor Cami, her day is just not getting any better until….” The Kiss”. Of course, the internal confusion and then surprise when she finds out ‘who’ she is kissing was a chuckle worthy moment. From there I knew that chemistry would take over and the story would flow better for me. And it did. A quick and fun read (though the least favorite of the three for me) with a bit of a mystery as well.

As always, thank you Jill Shalvis for penning such delightful stories.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*