Review (Take Two): Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Dr. Nora returns home to Scupper Island, Maine for a while for some rest and recuperation. She decided to leave behind her old life in Boston for a while – well, her old “reinvented in medical school” life, the one where she lost weight and gained confidence.

Higgins wrote a fascinating mother daughter relationship between Nora and her mom, and then put icing on the cake adding Nora’s wayward sister into the mix. Very well done. The family dynamics sucked me in without being too over the top. And Nora’s niece … aw, man, I was endeared to her from the start!

Best thing ever: The houseboat Nora rents. Second best thing ever: reading Nora’s emotions when she hears a certain someone walking up the dock. Oh and don’t miss the dinner party of all dinner parties – thank goodness for supportive friends, slightly eligible bachelors, and a mom who doesn’t stand for any nonsense.

Want to read Melpomene’s recent review of this book? Click right here.

-calliope

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Review: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Kate and Ainsley are half sisters, but they feel worlds apart most of the time. Kate is reserved, classical, and practical. Ainsley is fashionable, whimsical and fun. But when they each find themselves alone after their respective romantic situations fall apart, their sisterly love shines through righteously. 

Some of this story just broke my heart, and I wasn’t sure I could get through the despair. Then I noticed I was only a quarter of the way through the book, leaving PLENTY of time for redemption, hugs, and gluing hearts back together. 

My most favorite part of this whole book, even more awesome than the sister love (which is pretty awesome, and a big part of the story), even snazzier than the Tiffany ring (big!), and even more heartwarming than the boss finding a soft spot in his heart for an employee (unexpected!), was Daniel the Hot Firefighter. Higgins masterfully wove him in as comic relief and a reliable pal, but he was so much more. Aside from his witty banter and alpha male-ism, Daniel the Hot Firefighter symbolized Hope… hope for a future when the present is bleak, hope for women looking for a good man, hope for children needing a father figure.

I kind of guessed where Daniel the Hot Firefighter would end up at the close of the story, and I was so glad that my guess only scratched the surface. Look for your Hot Firefighter, people. You never know when you’ll need to be rescued, and he will be there with a generous heart… and a smile. 

-calliope

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Review: Anything For You by Kristan Higgins

  
I love Kristan Higgins’ books – always have. She writes hilarious one-liners that provide comic relief when things get heavy. Higgins writes authentic, deep characters… people I feel like I know, even though they’re fictional. 

Higgins’ Blue Heron series adds beautiful scenery and a vineyard backdrop to the mix. I almost feel like this series is a saga – generations of families, light politics, and family owned businesses play a big role. 

Anything For You is number five in the series. Connor has been in love with Jessica forever, but even after a decade she holds him at arm’s length. Oh the angst, my friends. I mean, you know (hope) there will be a happily ever after, but for so long things are looking grim! I was tense in the shoulders waiting for the other shoe to drop. And drop it did, though not in the way Connor or Jessica or I imagined. 

The love story rocked (in all its angst), the subplot of new employees at O’Rourke’s and the vineyard — totally hilarious, and the recurrence of past characters in cameos was precise, deliberate, and perfectly placed. 

I’m just going to keep on loving these Blue Heron folks. Thanks, KH! 

-calliope

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Review: If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

  
I read so much Kristan Higgins that I thought this novel would be just like her Blue Heron romances. I was wrong. Though Kristan’s signature wit is ever-present, If You Only Knew is a more serious take on relationships, both romantic and familial.  

Jenny Tate’s fickle husband divorced her and remarries… yet wants Jenny to remain his best friend. Jenny’s sister Rachel gives marriage and motherhood her all, only to find out her husband thinks she’s boring. Jenny and Rachel’s mom is no help at all, using passive aggressiveness to ensure she’s always the center of sympathy. 

I love how Jenny and Rachel navigate their romantic relationships with each other’s love and support. Higgins shows that sometimes our love induces good intentions… that the receiver doesn’t really want. For example, when Rachel needs a shoulder to cry on, she doesn’t want Jenny to judge her husband, but Jenny doesn’t know any other way to defend her sister! Higgins wrote it so real that I could believe I was with my own sister, navigating our own real life issues. 🙂

Higgins’s characters develop realistically, also. They come to emotional crossroads that push them to change gradually. Jenny’s downstairs neighbor wasn’t ready for a relationship at first because he was, frankly, depressed. Higgins gives Leo plenty of turning points and opportunities for change before illustrating his healing. 

Lest you think this is a melodrama, let me tell you there are plenty of laughs. Jenny’s dress-shop right-hand man is sarcastic and cynical and hilarious. One bride’s Momzilla gives everyone a run for their money, and Higgin’s description of her expressions is AWESOME. 

If You Only Knew has lust, laughter, and lunacy, but it also takes a peek at the serious side of love. It isn’t the Kristan Higgins that I expected; it’s even more. 

-calliope

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Review: In Your Dreams (Blue Heron) by Kristan Higgins

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Aaahhh, the Blue Heron series. Wine, good-looking vintners, smart and sassy women, and swoon-worthy heroes.

So Emmaline has a crush on Jack, but so does half the town. He married and quickly divorced a hot ticket from Savannah, saved four stupid teenagers from drowning, and offers his friendship to any of his sisters’ friends who need a convenient date to a wedding.

What I absolutely adore about Jack is that he’s pretty realistic. Higgins precisely got into the mind of a man … focused on his own stuff, not purposely being a jerk but obliviously doing so, aware of his charm and hotness — and willing to use it for his own benefit.

Emmaline proves to be one of the most awesome female protagonists in a romance. She’s great at her job, insecure with men, not a skinny-minny, loving to her sister, annoyed with her mother, and just trying to get through life unscathed any more than she already is. Very realistic. And she has a smart-mouth on her, that Emmaline.

Higgins writes Emmaline in that little place of insecurity – in love with a man but not willing to tell him because she knows it’s going to blow up in her face. And you know what, it does blow up in her face.

And then Jack saves the day. And they live happily ever after. Because that’s how the Blue Heron men roll.

–Calliope

$5 for kindle!
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Review: Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins

20140321-124822.jpg Oh. My. I just LOVED reading Waiting On You. I cracked up laughing and teared up crying. I hated Lucas and then loved him, and thought Colleen was just such a sweetheart. I was annoyed by (and endeared to) meathead Bryce and grateful for tomboy Paulina. Chef Connor spiced up the conversation from the back kitchen. I was like one of the regulars, sitting at the bar, listening in and watching the fray. So fun. And funny. And sometimes heart-wrenching.

The writing, by the way, is EXCELLENT. Higgins writes substantial characters — lots of them! — and witty dialogue. She sprinkles the cleverest one liners all over the place, lines like “he looked like sin begging for a taker” (that’s my favorite one; I could think about it all day). You never have to “wait” for the awesome words… They come before you’re even ready for them. It’s better than stand-up, I tell you.

Higgins gives the book high energy, All. Book. Long. I mean, it’s impressive to be reading a book and be on the edge of your seat (okay, pillow) the whole time. I just kept reading, right past my bedtime, right past midnight, and right into the last chapter.

I’m not even tired today, know why? Because I’m still thinking about Lucas and Colleen and the beautiful love they have for each other. I’m thinking… Re-read. I’m raving about it to my non-reading spouse. He doesn’t care, but I’m telling him anyway because Waiting On You is THAT good. I just want everyone to read it. That means You. And You. And You too. Even you non-romance types. Read it for the one-liners. Read it for the depth and breadth of characters. Read it because you’re a wine enthusiast or a Yankees fan or have a soft heart for animals.

You can click right down there and it will magically appear on your kindle next week. Let me know how much you love it.

–Calliope

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Review: The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins

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5 stars for this October 29 release!

I’m a romance junkie, and after reading so many, I’m hard to impress. The Perfect Match totally impressed me. This novel has it all – sweetness, complications, misunderstandings, true love, misgivings, honesty, and family loyalty. Higgins writes a complex, well-thought-out story with multi-layered characters and relevant subplots. I’m telling you, this is one of my favorite romances of 2013!

So now that you know the writing is awesome, here’s a little bit about the story line and characters:

Honor is a hard-working woman who takes care of her immediate family’s needs before her own. She also has had a 15-year crush on an old friend that she hooks up with once in a while. When he rebuffs taking the relationship seriously, Honor shifts her focus to finding pretty much anyone to marry – so she can settle down and have a family of her own.

Enter the meddling grandparents setting up a date for Honor and a visiting Brit named Tom. Unbeknownst to the matchmakers, Honor and Tom have already, embarrassingly, met. They do end up in a relationship, albeit an unconventional one. And then the reader is on the journey with Honor and Tom to see if love will grow and thrive.

Higgins masterfully weaves Honor’s low self-confidence into the story without making her seem pitiful. She writes Tom’s character as sweetly, appealingly arrogant in some ways, and sad and lonely in others. The brothers, sisters, friends and children are all real – whether we see jealousy, sullenness, anger, reluctance or joy.

When I opened The Perfect Match, I expected a typical, light, enjoyable romance. What I got was so much more. The Perfect Match is brilliantly written, complex, and emotional. And the bits of Brit-speak were lots of fun, too.
Love, love, love it!

-Calliope

Buy it now (preorder before 29Oct) The Perfect Match