RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis


Title: Rumor Has It
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Info: Berkley November 2013
ISBN: 978-0425255827
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Rumor Has It This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Malin. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Contemporary Romance category.

The summary:

He’ll help unleash the new woman in her…

Special Ops soldier Griffin Reid doesn’t exactly have happy memories of growing up in Sunshine, Idaho. He’s only come back to recover from a war injury, and while he refuses to admit he’s in a weakened state, he finds comfort in the last person he’d expect.

Kate Evans teaches fourth grade science in Sunshine, the place she’s always called home. Dreaming of graduate school and a happily-ever-after, she’s desperate to break out of the monotony of Sunshine. Luckily, a certain sexy man has just come back into her life.

To Griffin, Kate has always been his little sister’s friend, but now he’s finding her to be so much more. As both attempt to forge their paths, they must decide if their passionate connection can turn into something lasting…

And here is Malin's review:

This is my first ever Jill Shalvis contemporary, and I signed up for the RITA® Reader Challenge specifically because I’d been curious about her writing. I generally read a LOT more historicals than contemporaries, Julie James and Jennifer Crusie, as well as Lisa Kleypas’ Travis trilogy being the only notable exceptions. Still, I like to diversify my reading, and have read so many complimentary things about Shalvis on various review sites, that this seemed like a perfect opportunity.

I did enjoy the book a lot. I figured out from checking out the blurbs of the previous books in the series that Holly and Adam, who are about to get married in this book, as well as some of the other couples who are mentioned repeatedly, find their HEAs in the earlier books. Holly is Griffin’s little sister and Adam is his best friend. He returns to Sunshine only a few days before the wedding, not really telling anyone about the reason he’s been discharged permanently from the military.

An engineer working with bomb disposal, he only barely survived a close encounter with an explosion, having managed to get the rest of his troop safe before the explosion went off. Now he’s suffering from crippling migraines, sudden bouts of nausea, light sensitivity, horrible nightmares, and is generally not in a good state. Of course, being a big, tough soldier guy, he’s reluctant to admit weakness or vulnerability to anyone, and keeps his scar hidden under a baseball cap most of the time.

The first person Griffin runs into upon his return is Kate, Holly’s best friend, who’s had a crush on him pretty much forever. She’s fallen on her ass in the snow in front of him, and is naturally quite mortified. He helps her up, and notices just how attractive she is. Even though he is warned off her in the strongest possible terms by his sister – Griff has a reputation for loving and leaving women, Kate is inexperienced and vulnerable – Griffin can’t forget about her.

Kate is bending over backwards to help everyone around her. As well as being the ideal teacher for each and every fourth grader she teaches, she spends much of every day taking care of her widowed, slightly hapless father, bratty teenage drama queen sister, and geeky, off-beat little brother. She feeds the homeless guy in the park and brings her ex-boyfriend coffee every morning when they drive to work together (her ex is the school principal). For three years in a row, Kate has been offered a prestigious graduate position at UCSD, with a full scholarship, but every year, she’s turned it down to take care of those around her. Now the deadline to accept is less than two weeks away, and she desperately wants to send in her acceptance e-mail, but is worried her family will fall apart without her.

She decides that she’s sick of always being the good girl, and wants some fun, crazy adventure in her life. She sets out to seduce Griffin at the wedding, and though he tries his best to heed his little sister’s warnings and be a gentleman, he can only resist Kate’s increasingly determined efforts to throw herself at him for so long. He’s also surprised to discover that Kate seems perfectly fine with them having a one-night-stand, while he wants to spend more time with her.

Kate is one of the first people in Sunshine to discover his injuries, and insists on taking care of him when she finds him having an especially bad migraine attack. Having only been back in Sunshine for a short while, Griffin has nonetheless discovered how much time Kate spends caring for others, without anyone really ever being there one hundred per cent for her.

As I said, I really liked this book, but it was by no means perfect, and there were a few things that annoyed me about it. There’s a minor subplot about someone possibly stalking Kate when she’s out running, which felt out of place in an otherwise quite light-hearted book.

There’s also the fact that Kate is so gosh-darned perfect! Really, barring the “doesn’t realize how attractive she is even after several different guys hit on her at a party” and the fact that she appears to be completely unable to actually ASK her family whether they’ll be ok if she goes away to graduate school for a year, just assuming that everything will fall apart if she’s not there mothering them. She’s so perfect, I almost expected to discover that birds ate out of her hand and small rodents and forest creatures braided her hair as if she was a Disney princess. I would have liked her to have some flaws, she felt unrealistically flawless, good-hearted and kind.

I also didn’t really care about Griffin’s conflict with his father. I understand why it was there, and that it was an important reason as to why he never felt at home in Sunshine, where pretty much everyone else obviously thrives, but I just didn’t engage me.

I enjoyed the various family relationships in the book, though; even though Kate’s younger siblings occasionally veered a bit too far into stereotypical bratty teenage girl and geeky weird kid plot moppet territory. I will absolutely be checking out more of the Animal Magnetism series, as well as Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor books, which I’ve also heard many good things about. I just hope the protagonists in her other books are more fully rounded as humans, not Mary Sues.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | All Romance eBooks

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Evelyn Alexie says:

    So… Why are there puppies on the cover? Was there a puppy cannon involved?

  2. 2
    Malin says:

    Unfortunately, there was no puppy cannon anywhere near this book. Griffin’s dad has two golden retrievers, oddly named Thing 1 and Thing 2, I’m assuming the puppies in the picture are supposed to represent them.

    And now I’m thinking about The Suffragette Scandal


    again. I’ve already read it twice this month. I love when Edward says that the physics of cannons are actually very bad for dog anatomy. Heck, I adore that whole book. Every page.

  3. 3
    Evelyn Alexie says:

    No doubt Jill Shalvis is now kicking herself for not thinking of it herself.

    Still, I suppose that all the puppy-centric literature out there could be considered a puppy canon. (Sorry. English Major humor.)

  4. 4

    Thanks for the review! I have to admit, I don’t necessarily agree with your thoughts on Kate, though I’m not saying you are wrong! :) Just difference in opinions, I guess.

    I loved this book, so hard. Partly because Kate’s character struck home with me. Much of how she acts, her issues with her family and putting her life on hold for them? Yeah, that’s me. So perhaps when I said that I didn’t agree with your thoughts on Kate, I was taking your opinion too personal. Sorry for that!

    Anyway, still a great review, and I do agree with you about the stalker element; that wasn’t really needed and I frankly didn’t care much about it while reading.


  5. 5
    LauraL says:

    @ Evelyn Alexie—Thank you, you just made me laugh out loud when I should have been paying attention to a conference call!

    @ Malin—I enjoyed reading your review and I agree with you about the characters not being fully rounded in this book. In the Animal Magnetism series, I liked Rescue My Heart much better, but it came out in 2012. It is Holly and Adam’s story. For last year’s batch of Lucky Harbor books, Always On My Mind was my favorite (a keeper for me!) and was not the RITA nominee. Like you, I usually read more historicals, but I power read a bunch of Jill Shalvis books earlier this year after buying Simply Irresistible as a Kindle Daily Deal. You have been warned. ;)

  6. 6
    Malin says:

    Thanks for all the nice comments, you guys.

    @Evelyn Alexie – don’t apologize, that was an awesome pun. Is there a lot of puppy-centric literature out there?

    @The Book Queen – I’m sorry if you felt that I was in any way criticizing you or people who are too giving. I’m not, really. I really liked Kate a lot, and frankly recognized a lot of myself in her. I too am willing to go above and beyond for my friends and family and I work as a teacher. But I would have liked her more if Shalvis had let her have just one little flaw or two. Couldn’t there be one scene where she bitches about a difficult day at work (I refuse to believe that her class is always perfectly behaved, because children DON’T work this way) or was a bit bitter about how she never got any time to herself. She was so caring, and pleasant and seemed to never lose her temper or get annoyed. I would love for her to be my friend, though.

    @Laura L – thanks for the suggestions. I have a few Shalvis books that I bought in various e-book sales that I need to get round to reading. The RITA challenge just made it convenient to start with this one. I’m currently working my way through Susan E. Phillips’ Chicago Stars books. Will get to Shalvis when I next have a hankering for contemporaries.

  7. 7


    Oh NO NO NO! I’m sorry that I came across that way, but NO WAY was I implying that you were criticizing anyone! Please don’t think that. I can see now how my original comment may have sounded as such, but that was not my intention. I blame it on my current “Fuck the world’ attitude right now due to personal drama, so take anything I say with a grain of salt. ;)

    As to the too perfect problem—yeah, you are right on that, I wish Shalvis had shown a flaw or two in Kate. :)

  8. 8
    Shannon says:

    I read one of the books in this series (Rescue my Heart?).  The story was entertaining and well written.  My problem? I grew up in Idaho.  I know Sunshine is a fictional town.  But Shalvis’ depiction of scenery, landscape, and weather differ so much of what I know of northern and central Idaho.  I tried to suspend disbelief but one weird thing after another kept dropping me out of the story.  I kept telling myself it was set in southern Idaho (not likely since the nearest town/city was Coeur d’Alene) which I don’t know and could pretend this was indeed Idaho.

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