Bitsy Words: Anything for You by Kristan Higgins

29th Jan 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Bitsy Words: Anything for You by Kristan Higgins

Bitsy Words: Anything for You by Kristan HigginsAnything for You by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #5
Published by HQN
Pub Date: December 29th 2015
Pages: 410
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Before you get down on bended knee…

…you should be pretty darn sure the answer will be yes. For ten years, Connor O'Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she's got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard—it's the perfect time to get married.

When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. If it ain't broke, why fix it? Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who's now living with her full-time, and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she's positive married life isn't for her.

But this time, Connor says it's all or nothing. If she doesn't want to marry him, he'll find someone who does. Easier said than done, given that he's never loved anyone but her. And maybe Jessica isn't quite as sure as she thinks…

And thus, one of my favorite Contemporary Romance series comes to an end. *queue the tears*

Connor and Jessica have always been a bit of a mystery, and in Anything For You we find out why! They’ve kept their on-and-off relationship a secret from everyone for YEARS. Jessica had a really rough childhood. She’s grown up having to take care of herself and her brother. She’s super guarded and headstrong (ok, maybe stubborn is the better word), and she also doesn’t believe her and Connor could ever have a real future, due mostly to the fact that her brother HATES him. There’s a whole childhood flashback story that explains the sad circumstances as to why this is the case that totally made me cry. I’m a sucker, ok! There was a dog involved.

Connor is overly positive that if Jessica just let him try, her brother could get past it. He goes above and beyond in this book, but sometimes behind her back and yes, it backfires at a certain point. It felt like Connor was always trying and Jess was always shutting him down, so of course they frustrated me at times. But it all works out in the end! Connor stops trying so hard and Jess learns to let go of the tightly held reigns of her life and they are able to work things out… in the very end. :)

I’m sad to see this series come to a close but it was a great ending. I look forward to seeing what new characters Kristan Higgins will make me fall in love with next.

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins | Review + Excerpt!

29th Aug 2015 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2015, Blog Tours, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins | Review + Excerpt!If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN
Pub Date: August 25th 2015
Pages: 416
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Sisterhood in all its drama, hilarity and tears is at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins's thoroughly captivating new novel, featuring the wit and romance that readers have come to expect from the much-loved creator of the Blue Heron series...

Wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate understands the happily-ever-after business, yet somehow she's still involved in her ex-husband's life. In fact, Owen's new wife may—inexplicably—be Jenny's new best friend. Sensing this, well, relationship isn't helping her move on, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she'll be able to bask in her sister Rachel's picture-perfect family life…and hopefully make one of her own.

Her timing couldn't be more perfect, since Rachel will need her younger sister. Her idyllic marriage has just fallen to pieces in spectacular fashion after she discovers her husband sexting with one of his colleagues. Second chances aren't in Rachel's nature, but the desire for an intact family has her rethinking her stance on adultery, much to Jenny's surprise. Rachel points to their parents' "perfect" marriage as a shining example, but to protect her sister Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a secret about their family she's been keeping since childhood.

During this summer of secrets and lies, temptation and revelation, Jenny and Rachel will rely on each other to find the humor in their personal catastrophes, the joy in their triumphs…and the strength to keep hanging on.

I really connected with If You Only Knew. No, I haven’t gone through either of these situations, but it’s the core of the story that I connected with. Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball you did not see coming, and it’s so devastating at first that you don’t think you’ll ever get back up again. But then you do and you realize everything happens as it should. I get that. And I read this book at a moment in my life when I needed that reminder.

Kristan Higgins does a wonderful job with these characters. I came to really care about them. And it felt like I really knew them! I felt a lot of different emotions while reading this, but as always, the humor is what really sticks out as memorable when it comes to her books. I also shed quite a few tears, which I was prepared for.

I think you’ll find you’ll relate to this story in one way or another, so don’t miss it! And check out this sneak peek below!

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Jenny

Today is one of those days when I realize that staying friends with my ex- husband was a huge mistake.

I’m at the baby shower for Ana-Sofia, Owen’s wife and my replacement. Indeed, I’m sitting next to her, a place of honor in this circle of beaming well- wishers, and I’m probably beaming just as hard as everyone else. Harder, even, my Gosh, isn’t it wonderful, she’s so radiant smile that I give at work quite often, especially as my brides get bitchier or their mothers get more critical or their maids of honor get more jealous. But this smile, the baby shower smile…this is superhuman, really.

I know that coming today is incredibly pathetic, don’t worry. It’s just that I didn’t want to seem bitter by not showing up (though I’m pretty sure I am bitter, at least a little). After all, I’m the one who always wanted kids. Every time I brought it up, though, Owen said he wasn’t sure the time was right, and he loved our life the way it was.

Yeah. So. That turned out not to be quite true, but we did stay friends. Coming today, though…pathetic.

However, I woke up this morning utterly starving, and I knew the food would be amazing at the shower. Ana-Sofia inspires people. Plus, I’m moving out of the city, so for the past three weeks, I’ve been trying to eat or give away every morsel of food in my apartment. Let’s also mention that I couldn’t figure out an excuse that people would buy. Better to be an oddity here than Poor Jenny at home, scrounging through a box of Wheat-Thins of indeterminate age.

Ana-Sofia opens my gift, which is wrapped in Christmas paper, despite it being April. Liza, my host, glowers; the red and green cocoa-swilling Santas are an affront to the party vibe, which Liza noted on the invitations. In an effort to create a beautiful and harmonious environment for Ana-Sofia, please adhere to the apricot and sage color scheme in your clothing and gift-wrapping choices. Only in Manhattan, folks. I’m wearing a purple dress as a middle finger to Liza, who used to be my friend but now posts daily on FB that she’s LOL-ing with her BFF, Ana-Sofia.

“Oh! This is so lovely! Thank you, Jenny! Everyone, look at this! It’s beautiful!” Ana-Sofia holds up my gift, and there are gasps and murmurs and exclamations and a few glares that I have the best present here. I cock an eyebrow at the haters. Suck  it up, bitches. My gift was actually dashed off last night, as I kind of forgot to buy a present, but they don’t have to know that.

It’s a white satin baby blanket with leaves and trees and birds stitched into it. Hey. It only took me two hours. Nothing was hand-stitched. It wasn’t that big a deal. I sew for a living. A wedding dress designer. The irony is not lost on me, don’t worry.

“Couldn’t you have just bought a stuffed animal like a normal person?” murmurs the person on my left. Andreas (born Andrew), my assistant, and the only man here. Gay, of course—do straight men work in designer bridal wear? Also, he hates and fears children, which makes him the perfect date for me under the circumstances. I needed an ally.

Have I mentioned that the shower is held in the apartment I once shared with Owen? Where, so far as I could tell, he and I were extremely happy? Yes. Liza is hosting, but the power went out in her apartment, thanks to the ham-fisted construction crew installing her new glass countertops (granite being so very last decade), and so we’re here instead. Liza is sweaty and loud, rightfully worried about being judged on her prowess as hostess. This is the Upper East Side, after all. We’re all about judgment here.

The gifts (including mine) border on the ridiculous. The shower invitation (engraved from Crane’s) asked, at the behest of the parents, for donations to the clean-well-water charity Ana-Sofia founded—Gushing.Org, the name of which brings to mind a particularly bad menstrual period, but which raises funds for wells in Africa. Yeah. Therefore, everyone donated fat checks and tried to outdo themselves with gifts. There’s a Calder mobile. A 1918 edition of Mother Goose stories. A mohair Steiff teddy bear that costs about as much as the rent on my soon-to-be former apartment in the Village.

My gaze drifts across the now-tastefully furnished apartment. When I lived here, it was cozier and Bo-Ho—fat, comfortable furniture, dozens of pictures of my three nieces, the occasional wall hanging from Target, that bastion of color and joy for the middle class. Now, the décor is incredibly tasteful, with African masks on the wall to remind us what Ana-Sofia does, and original paintings from around the globe. The walls are painted those boring, neutral colors with sexy names—October Fog, Birmingham Cream, Icicle.

There’s their wedding photo. They eloped, so thank God I didn’t have to go to that (or, God forbid, make her gown, which I would’ve done if asked, because I’m still pretty pitiful where Owen is concerned and can’t figure out how to divorce him out of my heart). Though the photo was taken by the justice of the peace in Maine, it’s perfect. Both bride and groom are laughing, slightly turned away from the camera, Ana’s hair blowing in the sea breeze. The New York Times featured the photo in the Sunday Vows section.

They really are the perfect couple. Once, it was Owen and me, and while I didn’t expect perfection, I thought we were pretty great. We never fought. My mom felt that since Owen is half Japanese, he was a better bet than “those simpletons” I dated (all of whom I hoped to marry at one point or another, starting with Nico Stephanopolous in eighth grade). “The Japanese don’t believe in divorce,” Mom said the first time I introduced her. “Right, Owen?”

He agreed, and I can still see his omnipresent, sweet smile, the Dr. Perfect Smile, as I called it. It’s his resting expression. Very reassuring to his patients, I’m sure. Owen is a plastic surgeon, the kind who fixes cleft palates and birthmarks and changes the lives of his patients. Ana-Sofia, who is from Peru and speaks five languages, met Owen eleven weeks after our divorce when he was doing his annual stint with Doctors Without Borders in the Sudan and she was digging wells.

And I make wedding dresses, as I believe I’ve already said. Listen. It’s not as shallow as it sounds. I make women look like they dreamed they would on one of the happiest days of their lives. I make them cry at their own reflections, I give them the dress they’ve spent years thinking about, the dress they’ll be wearing when they pledge their hearts, the dress they’ll pass onto their own daughters someday, the dress that signifies all their hopes and dreams for a happy, sparkling future.

But compared with what Owen and his second wife do, yeah, it’s incredibly shallow.

In theory, I should hate them both. No, he didn’t cheat with her. He’s far too decent for that.

He loves her, though. Ostensibly, I could hate him for loving her and not me. Make no mistake. I was heartbroken. But I can’t hate Owen, or Ana-Sofia. They’re too damn nice, which is incredibly inconsiderate of them.

And being Owen’s friend is better than being without Owen entirely.

The quilt has made the rounds of admiration and is passed back to Ana. She strokes it tenderly, then looks at me with tears in her eyes. “I don’t have the words to tell you how much this means.”

Oh, shut up, I want to say. I forgot to buy you a gift and dashed this off last night with some leftover Duchess satin. It’s no big deal.

“Hey, no worries,” I say. I’m often glib and stupid around Ana-Sofia. Andreas hands me another cream puff. I may have to give him a raise.

“I’m so excited about your new shop,” Ana says. “Owen and I were talking about how talented you are just last night.”

Andreas gives me a significant look and rolls his eyes. He has no problem hating Ana-Sofia and Owen, which I appreciate. I smile and take another sip of my mimosa, which is made with blood oranges and really good champagne.

If I’m ever pregnant, though the chances of that are plummeting by the hour, I imagine I’ll have the unenviable “I sat on an air hose” look that my sister had when she was percolating the triplets. There was no glow. There was acne. Stretch marks that made her look as if she’d been mauled by a Bengal tiger. She gnashed on Tums and burped constantly, but in true Rachel fashion, my sister never complained.

Ana-Sofia glows. Her perfect olive skin is without a blemish or, indeed, a visible pore. Her boobs look fantastic, and though she is eight and a half months pregnant, her baby bump is modest and perfectly round. She has no cankles. Life is so unfair.

“We just found out that our daughter’s classmate is her half-brother,” says the taller woman in Lesbian Couple #1. One of them just became a partner in Owen’s practice, but I don’t remember her name. “Imagine if we hadn’t known that! She could’ve ended up dating her half-brother! Marrying him! The fertility clinic gave  out fourteen samples of that donor’s sperm. We’re filing a lawsuit.”

“It’s better than adopting,” says another woman. “My sister? She and her husband had to give back their son the fourth time he set fire to the living room.”

“That’s not so bad. My cousin adopted, and then the birth mother came out of rehab and the judge gave her custody of the baby. After two years, mind you.”

On the other side of the circle, there seems to be a heated debate over whose labor and delivery was most grueling. “I almost died,” one woman says proudly. “I looked at my husband and told him I loved him, and the next thing I knew, the crash cart was there…”

“I was in labor for three days,” another states. “I was like a wild animal, clawing at the sheets.”

“Emergency cesarean eight weeks early, no anesthesia,” someone else says proudly. “My daughter weighed two pounds. NICU, fifty-seven days.”

And we have a winner! The other mothers shoot her resentful looks. Talk turns to food allergies, vaccines, family beds and the sad dearth of gifted and talented programs for preschoolers.

“This is fun,” I murmur to Ana-Sofia.

“Oh, yes,” she says. Irony is not one of her skills. “I’m so glad you are here, Jenny. Thank you for giving up your afternoon! You must be very busy with the move.”

“You’re moving?” one of her extremely beautiful and well-educated friends asks. “Where?”

“Cambry-on-Hudson,” I answer. “I grew up there. My sister and her family are—“

“Oh, my God, you’re leaving Manhattan? Will you have to get a car? Are there any restaurants there? I couldn’t live without Zenyasa Yoga.”

“You still go to Zenyasa?” someone says. “I’ve moved on. It’s Bikram Hot for me. I saw Neil Patrick Harris there last week.”

“I don’t do yoga anymore,” a blond woman says, studying a raspberry. “I joined a trampoline studio over on Amsterdam. Sarah Jessica Parker told me about it.”

“What about brunch?” someone asks me, her brow wrinkling in concern. “What will you do for brunch if you leave the city?”

“I think brunch is illegal outside Manhattan,” I answer gravely. No one laughs. They may think I’m telling the truth.

Now granted, I love Manhattan. To paraphrase the song, if you make it here, the rest of the world is a cake walk. And I have made it here. I’ve worked for the best—even Vera Wang, as a matter of fact. My work is sold at Kleinfeld’s and has supported me for fifteen years. I was named one of the Designers of the Year when I was at Parson’s. I’ve been to not one but two parties at Tim Gunn’s place. He greeted me by name (and yes, he’s as nice as he seems).

But while I love the city, its roar, its buildings and smells, its subways and skyline, in my heart of hearts, I want a yard. I want to see my nieces more often. I want the happily ever after that my sister nailed, that’s unfolding for my ex-husband and his too-nice wife.

I hope I’m running to something, not away. The truth is, work has felt a little flat lately.

Cambry-on-Hudson is a lovely little city about an hour north of Manhattan. It has several excellent restaurants (some even serve brunch, shockingly). The downtown has a movie theater, flowering trees, a park and a Williams-Sonoma. It’s hardly a third-world country, no matter what these women think. And the latest shop is Bliss. Custom-made wedding gowns. My baby, in lieu of the human kind.

My phone beeps softly with a text. It’s from Andreas, who has put in his ear buds in order to drown out the stories of blocked milk ducts and bleeding nipples. Check out the nose on the great-aunt. I hope the baby inherits that. I smile at him gratefully.

“Did you hear about the obstetrician who fathered fifty-nine babies?” someone asks.

“That was an episode on Law & Order.”

“Ripped from the headlines,” someone else murmurs. “Someone in my building was one of his patients.”

“Oh. Oh, dear,” Ana-Sofia says.

I turn to her. She looks a bit startled. “It’s probably not true,” I tell her. “No…I think…it appears my water has broken.”

There is a silence, followed by a collective roar.

I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that, despite there being a dozen women who’ve given birth all jockeying for position, my hand is the one Ana-Sofia clutches. “Oh, Jenny, it’s happening,” she says, and her beautiful brown eyes are wide and terrified, and then I’m easing her onto the floor and crouched between her still- slim thighs (she’s maintained her bikini wax, FYI). Off with the thong (really, it’s like she’s showing off), and holy Mother of God, I can see the head.

I fumble in my purse for the travel-size Purell (if you ride the subways on a daily basis, you carry Purell). Slap some on my hands. “Get some towels and quiet down!” I bark at the other shower guests. I’m kind of good in emergencies. Liza hands me a stack of towels (very soft and about to be ruined by whatever comes out of a woman during childbirth).

“Let me help,” Liza whines. Indeed, this would make a great Facebook post. Just delivered my BFF’s baby, LOL! –with Ana-Sofia Marquez-Takahashi.

“I need to push,” Ana pants, and she does, once, twice, a third time, and a face appears (a baby! there’s a baby coming into my hands!). One more push, and I’m holding it, slimy and covered in white gunk and a little blood and incredibly beautiful.

Dark hair, huge eyes. A miracle.

I ease her out all the way and put her on Ana’s chest. “It’s a girl,” I say, covering the baby with a towel.

Then FDNY clomps in, and I entertain a quick and deeply satisfying fantasy—
The head firefighter is filled with admiration for my cleverness, checks me out and asks me to dinner in the cutest Brooklyn accent the world has ever heard. His biceps flex hypnotically, and at the end of the date, yes, he does pick me up to demonstrate just how easy it would be for him to save my life, and a few years later, we have three strong sons and twin daughters on the way. And a Dalmatian.

But no, their attention is quite taken with Ana-Sofia (as it should be, I guess, though it would be nice if just one of them checked me out). Someone cuts the cord, and Ana is weeping beautifully over her daughter, and Liza holds her phone to Ana’s ear so my ex-husband can sob his love and admiration for his wife, who just set the land-speed record for labor and delivery.

From down the hall, I can hear Andreas dry-heaving in the tastefully decorated powder room over the murmurs of admiration from the shower guests and the brawny firefighters as they tell Ana how amazing she is, how beautiful her daughter is.

Seems like I’m leaving the city in the very nick of time.

 

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

6th Oct 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: In Your Dreams by Kristan HigginsIn Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #4
Published by HQN
Pub Date: September 30th 2014
Pages: 480
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Emmaline Neal needs a date. Just a date—someone to help her get through her ex-fiancé's wedding without losing her mind. But pickings are slim in Manningsport, New York, population 715. In fact, there's really only one option: local heartthrob Jack Holland. Everyone loves Jack, and he won't get the wrong idea…. After all, Jack Holland would never actually be interested in a woman like Em. Especially not with his beautiful ex-wife creeping around, angling to reunite ever since he rescued a group of teens and became a local hero.

But when the wedding festivities take an unexpectedly passionate turn, Em figures it was just one crazy night. Jack is too gorgeous, too popular, to ever end up with her. So why is she the one he can talk to about his deep, dark feelings? If Em is going to get her dream man, she'll have to start by believing in him...

Who knew? Who knew Jack Holland would turn out to be this sexy, ravishing, hunk of a man?! All along I knew he was handsome, but man, was Kristan Higgins holding out on us! And Emmaline?! She was totally under wraps too! I was so completely and pleasantly surprised by this pairing. I didn’t know what, if any, connection these two had that would bring them together, but it totally worked.

Jack and Emmaline probably never would’ve gotten together if their lives had remained uneventful and uncomplicated. But sometimes life steps in and it brings you those people. That’s really what happened between them and it’s also what I think makes In Your Dreams work.

I was also really surprised by the amount of “baggage” Jack and Emmaline have. Both kept trying to sweep it under the rug and we all know what happens when characters do that. It ended up blowing up in their face at certain points in the story. Sometimes I wish I could’ve kicked Jack in the ass. He dragged so many things along that he could’ve resolved more easily if he hadn’t been such a man about it. And at times I wished Emmaline wouldn’t take it so easy on him. Whoa. When did I become all about the tough love? *shrugs* Nonetheless, these two people are perfect for each other. They had great chemistry, in and out of the bedroom.

We get to see a lot of Levi in this one which is always amazing, because LEVI. <3 And there may be a new arrival in the form of a baby! Eeeep! We also get to see the rest of the Hollands and O’Rourkes. I’m dying to see who Connor ends up with, y’all! Any guesses?? Well, hopefully we get to find out sooner rather than later. Not sure when his book is coming out, but I need it, like, yesterday. :)

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins + Giveaway & Excerpt!

31st Mar 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins + Giveaway & Excerpt!Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #3
Published by HQN
Pub Date: March 25th 2014
Pages: 457
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Does being nobody's fool mean that you're nobody's love?

Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love... just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell, her first love, broke her heart... an experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.

But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.

While I’ll admit I love all Kristan Higgins books, I do have my favorites. Waiting On You is now one of those favorites. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much with a Higgins book before. And at the same time, my heartstrings have never been pulled so taut before either. In other words, ALL THE DAMN FEELS!

I think the beauty in the relationship between Colleen and Lucas is that these two knew they were meant to be from the moment they laid eyes on one another, back in high school. Their love was everything first love is: overwhelming, intense, beautifully pure. But life has a funny way of throwing things for a loop sometimes, taking your life plans and shredding them so completely. Our Colleen and Lucas were subjected to such a fate, and so the whole book I’m just waiting for life to work out for them.

There are tons of emotional ups and downs in this book, plenty moments to shed tears for, but there are also some hilariously awesome moments. I think the hilarious moments were necessary to balance out the emotional aspect and Higgins did a great job of it.

Other characters we’ve met before make appearances and we get to see where they are now, which is always nice. We also get to know Connor, Colleen’s twin brother, a little better. In fact, he completely intrigued me in this book and I hope we get a Connor book soon!

Even though Waiting On You is technically part of a series, you could completely read this one as a stand-alone, and I strongly urge you to check it out. I have no doubt you’ll love it too. :)

Read the first chapter and see what I mean!!

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

“Drinks are on the house!”

A cheer went up from the gang, not just because Colleen O’Rourke—the bartender and half owner of the best (and only) bar in town—had just offered free booze, but because Brandy Morrison and Ted Standish had just gotten engaged.

Colleen hugged the happy couple once more, then went behind the bar and accepted high fives from her regulars as she pulled beers and mixed martinis, poured wine and slid glasses down the bar. After all, Brandy and Ted were her doing. That made…hmm…fourteen couples she’d set on the road to matrimony? No, fifteen! Not bad. Not bad at all.

“Good job, Coll,” said Gerard Chartier, accepting his free Cooper’s Cave IPA. He sat at the end of the bar, where the fire department was having a “meeting,” the agenda of which seemed to be O’Rourke’s list of microbrews. She wasn’t complaining. They were good for business.

“Your sorry single state hasn’t gone unnoticed,” she said, rubbing his bald head. “Not to worry. You’re next.”

“I’d rather stay single.”

“No, you wouldn’t. Trust Auntie Colleen, ever wise and all-knowing.”

“Colleen!” her brother Connor yelled from the kitchen. “Stop harassing the customers!”

“I’m part of our charm!” she yelled back. “Gang, are you feeling harassed?”

A satisfying chorus of no answered her. She breezed into the kitchen. “Hi, Rafe,” she greeted the backup chef, who was making one of his famous cheesecakes. “Save some of that for me, okay?”

“Of course, my truest love,” he said, not looking at her. He was gay. All the good ones were.

“Brother mine,” Colleen said to her twin, “what bug is up your ass?”

“You just gave away three hundred dollars’ worth of booze, that’s what,” he said.

“Brandy and Ted got engaged. Beautiful ring, too.”

“Your work, Collie?” Rafe asked.

“As a matter of fact, yes. They’d been eyeing each other for weeks. I gave a gentle shove, and voila. I expect I’ll be a bridesmaid. Again.”

Rafe smiled. “And when will you work your superpowers on your own self, lovey?”

“Oh, never. I’m too smart for all that. I like to use men for purely physical—”

“Stop! No one wants to hear about your sex life,” Connor said.

“I do,” said Rafe.

She grinned. Tormenting her brother, though they were both thirty-one, was still one of the great joys in life.

“It seems like such a waste. All that, unclaimed.” Rafe gestured to her torso and face.

“She got burned when she was young,” Connor told Rafe.

“Oh, please. That’s not why I’m single. Besides, you’re single, too. It’s all part of our dysfunctional childhood, Rafe.”

“Don’t even try,” he said, adding the sour cream layer to the cake. “I was a gay boy born to Jehovah’s Witnesses and grew up in East Texas with five older brothers who all played football. It was Friday Night Lights meets The Birdcage meets Swamp People. No one can compete with me in the land of dysfunctional families.”

“You totally win,” Colleen said. “Con and I only had a cheating father and—

“Isn’t tonight your night off?” Connor interrupted.

“Yep. But I came in because I sensed, using our magical twinsy bond, that you missed me.”

“You sensed wrong,” he muttered. “Get out of my kitchen. Your posse just came through the door.”

“He has batlike hearing,” Rafe said.

“I know. It’s creepy. Bye, boys! Don’t forget my piece of heaven, Rafe. Connor, come say hi. Everyone loves you, for some reason.”

She went back out into the bar and sure enough, there were the girls: Faith Holland, her oldest pal in the world (and a newlywed, and while Colleen couldn’t claim that one as her idea, she’d nonetheless helped keep them together); Honor, Faith’s older sister (bone-dry martini, three olives), someone Colleen had definitely helped with sweet Tom Barlow—their wedding would be in early July; and Prudence, the oldest Holland sister (gin and tonic, now that it was spring), married for decades.

“How’s tricks, Holland girls? Honor, you want your usual? Pru, a G&T? And what about you, Faithie? I have some strawberries I’ve been saving for you…a little vodka, a little mint, splash of lemon…want to try one?”

“Just water for me,” Faith said.

“Oh, lordy, are you pregnant?” Colleen blurted. Faith and Levi had gotten married in January, and from the way he looked at her, those two got it on like weasels. And you know what they say about weasels.

“I didn’t say that.” But she blushed, and Honor smiled.

“Well, I hope you are,” said Pru. “Nothing like the blessing of kids, even though I thought I would kill Abby the other day. She asked if she could get her tongue pierced. I said sure, I’d get a hammer and a nail and we could do it right now if she was that dumb, and the conversation devolved from there.”

“Hi, girls,” Connor said dutifully, having emerged from the kitchen.

“Con, bring Pru and Honor their regulars, and a big glass of ice water for Faith here.”

“I thought you wanted me to say hi, not to wait on you,” he said. “Faith, are you pregnant?”

“No! Maybe. Just shush,” Faith said. “I’m thirsty, that’s all.”

“Connor Cooper would be a great name,” he suggested.

“I think it sounds pretentious,” Colleen said. “Colleen Cooper, or Colin for a boy…now we’re talking. Con, how about those drinks? And some nachos?”

Her brother gave her a dark look but left obediently, and Colleen settled back in her seat. “Guess what you missed? Brandy Morrison and Ted Standish just got engaged! He got down on one knee and everything, and she was crying, and it was beautiful, ladies! Beautiful!”

Hannah, Colleen’s cousin, brought over their food and drinks, and Prudence launched into a story of her latest adventure in keeping things fresh in the old conjugal bed. Very entertaining. Coll scanned the bar as Pru talked, making sure all was running smoothly.

It occurred to her that spending her night off at work was maybe not a hundred percent healthy. Granted, options were limited in Manningsport, New York, a town of just over seven hundred. She could be home, reading and cuddling with Rufus, her enormous Irish wolfhound mutt, who would love nothing more than to stare into her eyes in adoration for several hours. One couldn’t rule out the ego boost that provided.

Or, Colleen thought, she could be out on a date. Rafe had a point.

It’s just that every guy she met seemed to be lacking something. She hadn’t felt the tingle in a long, long time.

As the proprietor of the only year-round, alcohol-serving establishment in town, Colleen saw a lot of relationships blossom or end in a fiery crash. When things went right, it was generally because the woman had cleverly manipulated the guy into good dating behavior. He’d call when he said he would. Put some thought into dates. He’d ask questions about her life because she didn’t vomit up all her personal history in the first ten minutes.

Far more common, however, was the fiery crash model, when Colleen mixed a sympathy cosmo or poured an extra ounce of Pinot Grigio into a glass for a woman who had no idea what went wrong. Colleen could tell her, of course, and sometimes did…Maybe you shouldn’t have talked about your ex for two hours, or Is telling him you were just cleared for fertility treatments a good idea on the first date?

Happily, the now-engaged Brandy had asked Colleen for advice from the start. Should I go out with him again tomorrow? Is it okay to sleep with him yet? How about if I text him right now?

The answers: No, no and no.

“Colleen,” said the bride-to-be now, “I just wanted to thank you again for everything.” She bent down and gave Coll a hug. “Bridesmaid?”

“Of course!” Colleen said. “You two…mazel tov! I’m so happy for you!”

“Thanks, Coll,” Ted said. “You’re the best.”

“My fifteenth couple,” she said to the Holland sisters as the happy couple left for some monkey sex, one presumed.

“You have a gift,” Faith said, taking a slab of nachos onto her plate.

“And yet just last night, there was some poor woman in here, begging the guy she was with not to dump her, and I took her aside and said, ‘Honey, if you have to beg, do you really want this loser?’ But of course, she kept crying and begging, and it was agony, I tell you.” She finished her drink, one of the strawberry thingies Faith had passed on. “Maybe I should teach a class. Pru, when Abby starts dating, you send her to me.”

“Will do. And thanks, because God knows, she’s not listening to me these days.”

“Excuse me,” came a voice, and all three of them looked up.

“Hey, Paulie,” Colleen said. “How are you? Have a seat!”

Paulina “Paulie” Petrosinsky pulled up a chair, swung it backward and straddled it. She’d been Faith and Colleen’s classmate—not quite a friend back in the day, but really nice. She came into O’Rourke’s once in a while, usually after a workout at the gym, where her weightlifting skills were the stuff of legend.

“Um…I overheard you say something about, uh, teaching people? Women?” she asked.

“Slut University,” Pru said, and Faith and Honor snorted.

“Very funny,” Colleen said. “My reputation is greatly exaggerated.”

“And whose fault is that?” Faith asked. “You should stop spreading rumors about yourself.”

Colleen smiled. Had she in fact written something flattering about herself on the men’s room wall just last week? She had. “Ignore my so-called friends,” she said. “What’s up?”

“Um…can you really help a, um, a person? With, uh…you know. Love and men and stuff?” Paulie’s face turned deep red, then purple.

“Are you all right?” Honor asked, frowning a little.

“Oh, that. My face. It’s called idiopathic craniofacial erythema. I…I blush. A lot.”

“Wish I could hang around,” Prudence said. “We farm people have to get up early. Good luck with your man, Paulie! See you, girls!”

“So are you interested in someone in particular?” Colleen asked, scootching over into Pru’s vacated chair to make more room at the table.

Paulie swallowed. “Yeah,” she whispered, glancing around.

“Who?” Faith asked.

“Um…I’d rather not say.”

Colleen nodded. “What do you like about him?”

“He’s…he’s just so nice. I mean, really kind, right? And he’s cheerful and good and smart, I think, too. I mean, he…well. He’s great.”

Colleen smiled. “And do you feel sick when you see him, and then hot, and then nauseous?”

“Exactly,” Paulie said, her face purpling again.

“Do you imagine conversations with him, holding hands and moonlit walks and all that other mushy stuff?”

“I—yes. I do.” Paulie took a shaky breath.

“Does he make your danger zone tingly? Does your skin get hot, do your knees wobble, does your tongue feel swollen—”

Faith stood up. “I miss Levi,” she announced. She gave Colleen a kiss on the cheek and squeezed her sister’s shoulder. “Good luck, Paulie! Take Colleen with a grain of salt.”

“I’m going, too,” Honor said. “Bye, matchmaker. Do no harm, mind you. See you, Paulina.”

“So who is this guy?” Colleen asked when they were gone.

Paulie shot a nervous glance back to the bar. Aha! A hint. “You know what?” Paulie said. “Never mind. He’s…he’s out of my league.”

“No, he’s not!” Colleen cried. “Paulie, you’re so nice! You are! Anyone would be lucky to have you.” Besides, Colleen always felt a little guilty where Paulie was concerned.

“Thanks,” she muttered.

“It’s true,” Colleen said firmly. Granted, Paulie hadn’t been blessed with great beauty. And her dad was a little odd—Ronnie Petrosinsky, owner of four small restaurants called Chicken King that served fried chicken thirty-eight different ways, all of them very, very bad for you. He was locally famous for his commercials, where he pranced around dressed as a rooster wearing a crown. Poor Paulie was also featured in a fluffy yellow chick suit, wearing a crown—the Chicken Princess. Try getting out from under that title, especially in high school.

“Listen, Paulie. No one is out of your league. Go ahead, tell me.”

Paulina sighed gustily and drained her Genesee (first order of business: get her to drink something more feminine). “It’s Bryce Campbell.”

Oh. Okay, so that might be tough.

Bryce was gorgeous. Jake Gyllenhaal DEFCON 4–gorgeous. He got his share of tail, as Colleen knew all too well. Bryce was a regular. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but sweet. He had a certain charm, and women threw themselves at him all the time.

Lots of women.

“That’s fine,” Colleen said, realizing she hadn’t spoken for a moment. “Not a problem.”

Paulie gave her a despairing look.

“I’m serious. We can work with this. So, tell me more about you and Bryce.”

Paulie’s expression grew dreamy, the severe blush fading. “He volunteers at the animal shelter, you know?” Colleen nodded; Bryce had in fact helped her choose Rufus the Doofus. “And the animals, they all love him. I go in a lot. I, um…I’ve adopted two dogs and four cats in the past year.”

Colleen smiled. “That’s a lot. But go on.”

“And the other day, I was getting gas, and so was he, and I didn’t even plan that! He just smiled at me and said, ‘Hey, Paulie, how’s it going?’” She sighed at the memory of the magical words. “It was amazing. I mean, that smile, right?”

Yes. Bryce had a beautiful smile. That was true.

“He’s never in a bad mood,” Paulie went on. “Never has a bad thing to say about anyone. Not that I talk to him. Not much, anyway. But sometimes we lift weights at the same time, and…well, I try to talk to him. But my mind goes blank, and I never think of anything good to say. But last week? I had to walk past him, and I said ‘Excuse me,’ and he said, and I quote, ‘No problem.’ Colleen, he smelled so good.”

The woman had it bad.

“And when we were in high school, he never made fun of me.”

Colleen’s heart gave a squeeze. Paulie had a solid, athletic build and held the school record for the number of pushups, beating even Jeremy Lyon, football god, a record that stood to this day. Her father’s business didn’t help her social status; he’d started out as a chicken farmer, and Paulie hadn’t grown up as comfortably as most of the kids in town, though not as poor as others. And then, when the Chicken King became so successful, well, that was different, too, and it was hard to be different at that age.

Though she was now the chief operating officer for the Chicken King franchises, Colleen had never seen Paulie out of gym clothes, and she always seemed on the fringe of things, as nice and smart as she was.

With a pang, Colleen realized Paulie reminded her of Savannah, her nine-year-old half sister.

“You know what? Let’s forget about it, okay? I’m sorry,” Paulie said now.

“Absolutely not,” Colleen said. “He’d be lucky to have you. I’m serious. You’re great, you have so many nice qualities…it’s not gonna be that hard, Paulie. What have your other relationships been like?”

“Um…I…I’ve never had another relationship.”

“That’s fine. So, no experience with men?”

“I’m a virgin,” she said.

“No worries. Nothing wrong with saving yourself for true love.” Colleen herself had, after all. Not that hers was an exemplary story.

“It’s more like no one’s ever asked me.”

Oh! Poor lamb! “Not a problem.”

“He’d probably rather go out with you,” Paulie said.

“Oh, please,” Colleen said with a flinch. “Bryce? No. We’re not…he’s a sweetheart, but not my type. But you guys…you’d be great together.”

Paulie’s face lit up? “Really? You think so? Honest? I’ll do whatever you say. You think I have a shot?”

“Absolutely.”

Connor was back. “Dad called. Wants you to babysit. Apparently, Gail needs a break.”

Ah. Gail Chianese O’Rourke, their stepmother, four years their senior, not so lovingly known as Gail-the-Tail-Chianese-Rhymes-with-Easy-Hyphen-O’Rourke.

“A break from what?” Colleen asked. “From spa appointments? From shopping? A break from having breaks?”

“I don’t know. Ask him to call you on your cell next time. Hey, Paulie, anything else for you?”

“Uh, I’m good, thanks,” she said, shifting to take a ten from her pocket.

“On the house,” Connor and Colleen said in unison.

“Thanks.” She stood, tripped a little over the chair; Con grabbed her arm and Paulie flushed again. “Well. Thanks, Coll. You rock.” With that, she headed out into the beautiful spring night.

“I’m fixing her up,” Colleen said.

“Oh, God,” Connor muttered.

“What? You have something against true love?”

“Do you have to ask?”

The bar was emptying; the sidewalks, few that there were, tended to roll up early in Manningsport. Connor sat down with her. The only folks left were on the volunteer fire department, who felt that O’Rourke’s was their home away from home.

“Con, you think Mom and Dad screwed us up forever? I mean, neither one of us has a significant other.”

Connor shrugged. He hated talking about their parents.

“You should go out with someone. Jessica Dunn, maybe. Or Julianne from the library. Or I could fix you up.”

“I’d rather hang myself, but thanks.”

“If you do, can I have your car?” She gave him a look. “What aren’t you telling me?”

He grimaced, but hey, the twin telepathy was alive and well. “Don’t have kittens, okay? But actually, I’m seeing someone.”

“What? Since when? Who?”

“No kittens, Colleen.”

“Well, you’re my twin, my family, my coworker! We share a house!”

“Another life mistake.”

“Connor,” she said more calmly, “how are you seeing someone and I don’t know about it? Who is she? How long has this been going on? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because of this. I didn’t want you to go crazy and give me advice or start naming babies.”

“When have I ever done that?”

“An hour ago. You told Faith to name her baby after you.”

“Well, so did you.”

Her brother crossed his arms. “It’s not serious. Not yet.”

“I can’t believe you kept this from me. God, those three minutes you have on me ruined you. I should’ve been born first, and I would’ve been, if you hadn’t shoved me out of the way.”

“Okay, we’re done here. You wanna kick out the fire department, or shall I?”

“Get out, people!” Colleen yelled, and the various and sundry members of Manningsport’s bravest started reaching for their wallets.

Hello. Bryce Campbell was there, too. He must’ve come in when she was with the girls. He was watching the fire department with an almost wistful look on his face. Boys. They never got over the thrill of their first shiny red truck.

Well, no time like the present.

“Hey, Bryce,” she said, ambling over.

“Hi, Colleen.” He looked at her and smiled, and yes, Paulie had a point. Bryce was cute. That wasn’t news, but still.

“How’s your dad?” Smiling Joe Campbell was one of Colleen’s favorite patrons, though he hadn’t been in much in the past year.

“He’s great!” Bryce flashed another look at the MVFD, who were now filing out the door, laughing.

“You should join the fire department,” she said.

“Yeah. I doubt my mom would approve of that. I might get hurt.”

“You probably wouldn’t, though. Their safety record is stellar, even if they are a bunch of goofballs.” She took his empty glass and wiped the counter in front of him. “So, Bryce, you seeing anyone these days?”

He raised a friendly eyebrow. “You asking?”

“No.”

“Right.” He gave a mock grimace. “Nope, no one special. I wouldn’t mind having a girlfriend, though.”

This was going to be easier than she thought. “Really? What’s your type?”

“Aside from you?” He winked.

“None of that, now. Answer the question.”

“I don’t know. Pretty. Kind of…pretty and nice and hot, you know? Like Faith Holland, except maybe taller and skinnier, and don’t tell Levi I said that, okay?”

“Bryce Campbell. Looks aren’t everything, you know.” And if he had a problem with Faith—who was built like a 1940s pinup girl—she was going to have to tread carefully with Paulie. “How about personality?”

“Really outgoing. Like me, kind of. You know anyone?”

“Hmm. No one leaps to mind.” Actually, four women leaped to mind, but Bryce was a typical man—he didn’t know what he needed; he just knew what he liked. “But I’ll think about it, okay?”

“Thanks, Coll! You’re the best!”

“It’s true. Now get out, we’re closing.”

Half an hour later, Colleen walked to the yellow-and-red Victorian she shared with her brother. A duplex, so it wasn’t quite as dysfunctional as it sounded. Connor had left a little earlier, and the first floor lights were out. Colleen’s apartment was on the second floor—a staircase in the back led to a small deck and her door.

She wondered if this mystery woman of his had visited the house yet.

“It’s all good,” she murmured to herself as she opened her door. “After all, we have somebody to love, too. Right, Rufus?”

One hundred and sixty pounds of scruffy gray canine agreed. She allowed him to maul her, scratched his rough gray fur, gazed meaningfully into his eyes, and then extricated herself. “Who wants a cookie? Is it us? I want an Oreo, and you, my beautiful countryman, can have a Milk-Bone.”

Some bozo had bought Rufus as a puppy, then, shocker, learned that the breed tended to get a wee bit large. But the idiot’s loss was her gain, because, as Bryce Campbell had suspected, Rufus and Colleen were kindred spirits.

She called Rushing Creek and talked to Joanie, the night nurse in her grandfather’s wing, and ascertained that Gramp was having a good night. Then, with a sigh, she got the snacks, made Rufus balance his cookie on his nose before allowing him to inhale it, then flopped down on the couch with the box of Oreos. Because really, no one had just one Oreo.

Love was in the air. It was all around her, as a matter of fact—Faith and Levi maybe percolating a baby; Honor and Tom getting married; Brandy and Ted now engaged. Paulie and Bryce (complicated on several levels…but maybe a chance for Colleen to do something good).

Connor and someone.

That one gave her the biggest pang. Granted, there’d been many times over the years when Colleen would’ve cheerfully sold Connor to the gypsies (and had, in fact, put him up for adoption when they were twelve and he announced the fact of her period in the cafeteria). When their parents went through their ugly, horrible, terrible divorce, she and Connor had become closer than ever. They often called or texted each other simultaneously. Saw each other every day.

It was strange, thinking of her twin married, a dad. She certainly wanted him happy, of course she did. It was just that she always pictured it in the happy, sunny future, in which she would have a great spouse and adorable tots.

But that picture always held a dreamlike quality, the image overexposed, as if the sun shone too brightly, and her husband’s face was blurred.

Once, she’d known exactly who the face belonged to, and it hadn’t been blurry at all.

 

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About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

14th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Kristan HigginsAll I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN
Pub Date: February 25th 2014
Pages: 413
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

Turning thirty has its ups and downs...

For Callie Grey, coming to grips with her age means facing the fact that her boyfriend-slash-boss is way overdue with a marriage proposal. And that she's way off track, because Mark has suddenly announced his engagement to the company's new Miss Perfect. If that isn't bad enough, her mom decides to throw her a Big Three-Oh birthday bash…in the family funeral home.

Bad goes to worse when Callie stirs up a relationship with the town's single—yet not so warm and fuzzy—veterinarian, in order to flag Mark's attention. So what if Ian McFarland is more comfortable with animals? So what if he's formal, orderly and just a bit tense? Friendly, fun-loving and spontaneous Callie decides it's time for Ian to get a personality makeover. But, dang—if he doesn't shock the heck out of her, she might actually fall for Georgebury, Vermont's unlikeliest eligible bachelor….

I loved so many things about All I Ever Wanted. The way Callie was describe as curvy. The story of how she’s loved Mark since she was a kid and he’s totally taken her for granted all that time. Ian’s uniqueness and all his other qualities and flaws. So many things I loved!

Callie and Ian’s relationship was really interesting. He comes off sort of standoffish and she totally throws him for a loop. But he also really admires her effervescence. And in turn, he surprises Callie at most every turn. It was just a really nice development and I completely enjoyed watching them go through it.

But before all that happens, we learn the history of Callie and Mark. I hated him because he’s a user. UGH! I felt so awful for Callie but girlfriend needed to let that go already. We see Callie at her job and with her colleagues often in this book, Mark being her boss is also there. Blegh. She’s really good at her job though, and every time something good happened I totally cheered for her.

This book also had a big family aspect to it. And it was so diverse too! They all had different careers and they were all so quirky. I really enjoyed reading all their scenes together. There’s also a completely sad and huge event that happens in this book and, you guessed it, I totally cried.

The ending in this book is one of my favorites. Maybe not the epilogue, but the ending itself. Also, the rocking chair thing. Man, I loved that part. All I Ever Wanted made me laugh, and cry, and feel so many other emotions. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Kristan Higgins book though. :)

~~~~~~~~~~~
If by now I haven’t convinced you to pick up at least one Kristan Higgins book, then I’m obviously doing it wrong. But I have faith that you’re here because you want to read a Kristan Higgins book, so go out and do it! :D

Thanks for joining me on this week of Kristan Higgins love. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you all and I hope you’ve enjoyed it too!

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins

13th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins

Review: The Next Best Thing by Kristan HigginsThe Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins
Series: Gideon's Cove #2
Published by HQN
Pub Date: August 27th 2013
Pages: 395
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Lucy Lang isn't looking for fireworks...

She's looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who'll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbecue, teach their future children to play soccer. But most important: someone who won't inspire the slightest stirring in her heart...or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can't risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn't enough either. So it's goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate "friend with privileges," and hello to a man she can marry.

Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn't going anywhere. As far as he's concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?

I’d met Lucy and Ethan before, when I read Somebody to Love, which features one of the characters in The Next Best Thing. It was nice going back and reading all of their beginnings. I hadn’t actually realized, from reading about Lucy and Ethan in Somebody to Love, just how emotional their story was.

To explain the tangled lives of Lucy and Ethan would be doing you a disservice. It would take away the fun in discovering it all as you read. So I’m not going to go into those specific details.

Lucy is a young widow who’s found she can lose herself and not think about her pain when she’s with Ethan. They have great chemistry and steamy sex and it really scares her to think she can really fall in love again. And get hurt again. Because of this she pushes him away and begins looking for someone unextraordinary, someone safe. Kristan Higgins is really great at setting up our heroines on really awful but hilarious blind dates. I’ve come to really enjoy that in her books. So, Lucy gets some of that and it was pretty entertaining. I thought Ethan was really, REALLY, patient with Lucy. Until he’s done with that and tells her she can’t have her cake and eat it too. I was glad Ethan stood up for himself because he’s done so much longing and hurting because of and for Lucy.

Lucy’s family consisted of all females. Her mom, her two aunts, and herself were all widowed too young. Supposedly it’s a curse, which makes Lucy’s sister crazy and in turns drives the sister’s husband crazy. Also, her in-laws still play a big role in her life and she visits with them often. I thought that was nice, but I didn’t think they were very nice to a certain someone, so it made me dislike them.

I LOVE Lucy’s friend Parker and her son Nicky, who happens to also be Ethan’s son. Parker and Ethan dated and got pregnant unexpectedly, but they knew they weren’t right for each other in the end. They have a great relationship and are great parents to Nicky, meaning it only made me love Ethan more. Somebody to Love is about Parker and her road to a happily ever after. :)

The end of The Next Best Thing made me shed a tear or two. I won’t lie to you. I thought it was emotional and touching and you should totally read it. Simple as that!

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins

12th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins

Review: Too Good to Be True by Kristan HigginsToo Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN
Pub Date: December 18th 2012
Pages: 383
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

How far would you go to get over a guy?

When Grace Emerson's ex-fiancé starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she's seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up. Who is this Mr. Right? Someone…exactly unlike her renegade neighbor Callahan O'Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.

Whoa. No. Callahan O'Shea is not her perfect man! Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so…right?

Ladies…two words for you: Callahan O’Shea. GAH! He was THE BEST. Probably my favorite Higgins love interest to date. What makes me say this, you ask? Well, his humor. Straight up. Yeah, he was SUPER yummy, but nothing on that wit of his! I just wanted him to talk forever. All I wanted were scenes with him bantering with whoever was on the page.

So this is the second Higgins book I read where there’s awkward family situations, the first being Fools Rush In. In Too Good To Be True, our heroine’s ex-fiance and her sister fall in love with each other the moment they meet. Grant it, nothing happens between them until more than a year after Andrew broke their engagement, but it’s still hard on Grace, who isn’t quite over the blow.

Grace has this lifelong coping mechanism where she makes up boyfriends to save her from awkward situations, and she’s just done it again to put her sister at ease for dating her ex. All this gets even more complicated when a Hottie McHotterson, Callahan, moves in next door and she totally wants him…and he seems to be totally interested in her too! Except she totally told him she had a boyfriend. :/ Things start getting out control when her family won’t let up about meeting her “boyfriend” and she has to stage these dates, fights, and soon, a breakup. It was all very comedic and very dramatic at times. I really enjoyed it, even though sometimes I could only shake my head at her.

So, then FINALLY, Callahan becomes more than her friendly neighbor with a sketchy past and things are going so great…until Andrew decides to stir the pot and everything hits the fan. Thanks, Andrew. You suck so much.

It was pretty much an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved and I was really sad for Grace. Luckily Kristan Higgins doesn’t leave us suffering for very long (it would suck if she did!). Grace gets her happy ending and I get to be happy for her and her beau.

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting On You

12th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting On You

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting On YouWaiting On You by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #3
Published by HQN
Pub Date: March 25th 2014
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Does being nobody's fool mean that you're nobody's love?

Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love... just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell, her first love, broke her heart... an experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.

But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.

I seriously love this series by Kristan! The first two books were terrific and I can’t wait to continue with it!

Another reason I chose Waiting on You today is because this week it’s all about Kristan Higgins here on Gone with the Words! Check out all the Kristan love by clicking the button below:

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About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Fools Rush In by Kristan Higgins

11th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Fools Rush In by Kristan Higgins

Review: Fools Rush In by Kristan HigginsFools Rush In by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN
Pub Date: August 30th 2011
Pages: 386
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

Millie Barnes is this close to finally achieving her perfect life...

Rewarding job as a local doctor on Cape Cod? Check. Cute cottage of her very own? Check. Adorable puppy suitable for walks past attractive locals? Check! All she needs is for golden boy and former crush Joe Carpenter to notice her, and Millie will be set.

But perfection isn't as easy as it looks—especially when Sam Nickerson, a local policeman, is so distracting. Sure, he needs a friend after being dumped by Millie's fortune-hunting sister, but does she really need to enjoy his company that much? He is definitely not part of her master plan. But maybe it's time for Millie to start a new list...

After finishing Catch of the Day, which left me with such a happy feeling in my heart and smile on my face, I didn’t want to get off that train. So I thought, why not make my next read, the first of 2014, another Kristan Higgins book?? It definitely couldn’t disappoint, right? Well, I was right!

While Fools Rush In isn’t my favorite Higgins book so far, it is her first published one and I think she did a great job with this unconventional relationship.

See, Millie, while really cute, frustrated me a lot of the times with her obsession over Joe Carpenter. I just didn’t understand her fascination with him. Yeah, he sounded hot but he also appeared to be a playboy. A nice guy, sure, but a player nonetheless.

Now, Sam? Sam I liked from the start…but he was her ex-brother-in-law, so, a little weird, right? Grant it, her sister was a straight up B, and she’d cheated on Sam and left him almost a year prior to Millie moving back home…I still needed some convincing that this would work I guess. Well, I didn’t see it at first, but let me tell you, I became Team Sam very soon after. I liked that I was rooting for them before they themselves even realized they would be perfect together. I knew people wouldn’t take it lightly and that they would be the gossip in town for a while, but when it’s right, it’s right.

While Millie’s intentions on transforming herself and her life might have been skewed at first, saying it was all for Joe, somewhere along the line she started to do it for herself and I really loved that. And she ends up getting what she’s always dreamed of, but of course, as often things turn out, it wasn’t what or who she’d built up all this years in her head. I was glad she came to that realization fairly quickly because then she could move on to who she really needed. :D

Fools Rush In was certainly a sweet story, with an unconventional love interest. I liked that aspect of it, even I couldn’t see myself in that situation, like, ever. I definitely read this one more like an observer of someone’s story more so than merging myself with it, if that makes any sense. Still sitting firmly in Higgins Love Train, that’s for sure.

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Swoon

10th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Swoon

This week’s topic ties in perfectly with what I’m doing this week!! What am I doing, you’re wondering? Well…

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That’s right! A whole week dedicated to Kristan Higgins! Monday through Friday I’ll be posting a review of one of her books!

And who better to showcase this week because her books are so swoony. :) I’m going to give you a list of my favorites in order, in countdown form. So lets get started!

TTT10-6

10. Fools Rush In

9. Catch of the Day

8. The Next Best Thing

7. The Perfect Match

6. Too Good To Be True

TTT5-1

5. All I Ever Wanted

4. The Best Man

3. Just One of the Guys

2. Somebody to Love

1. Until There Was You

 

 

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins

10th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins

Review: Catch of the Day by Kristan HigginsCatch of the Day by Kristan Higgins
Series: Gideon's Cove #1
Published by HQN
Pub Date: February 28th 2012
Pages: 379
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

What's the market price on a decent guy these days?

Maggie Beaumont's luck is about to change. Sure, she's known for her bad romantic choices—her former boyfriend broke up with her by bringing his new girlfriend home for a visit. And then there was the crush she had on a gorgeous young Irishman, who turned out to be Father Tim, the parish's new priest.

But romantic salvation has arrived in the form of handsome, if surly, fisherman Malone. It turns out there's a heart of gold underneath his barnacle-clad exterior. Will this catch of the day turn into the dish of a lifetime?

When I was deciding what would be my last read of 2013, I wanted something that would make me happy. So I thought, “What author always makes me happy after reading their books?” The answer came almost instantly: Kristan Higgins. So where to start? I mean, I own all of her books, so I’m set. I decided on Catch of the Day because I’d met these characters briefly in Somebody to Love and had always been curious about their story.

Maggie was such a loveable character, and I just felt awful at the way her first love treated her, and then to fall in love with a priest! Ugh. She lives in such a small town that of course everyone will know all of your business. Grant it, Father Tim treated her kindly, if at times did take advantage of her niceness, and he took her crush in stride.

After finally deciding to get a grip on her love life and try to find someone, things didn’t get much better. But then there was Malone, the quiet, dark, brooding fisherman who basically intimidated her to no end. Malone is a man whose actions speak louder than words…basically because he hardly EVER talks. It was difficult to like him at first, but the things he does ended up winning me over.

There was a part in this book that made me sob, you guys. I can’t tell you what it is because I’ll ruin it, but if you’ve read you might know what I mean, and if you read it soon you might also guess it. That was the moment I probably finally REALLY like Malone, after his actions in that moment.

Also, you can’t have a Higgins book without a unique set of secondary characters, be it family, friends, or townsfolk. In this case, I loved Maggie’s siblings, but her parents drove me nuts. Overall though, I liked what each added to the story.

Catch of the Day was the perfect way to end 2013. I got to completely feel the emotional parts and still end up with a happy ending, which I must say, really tugged at my heart.

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Kristan Higgins Week!

9th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

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As some of you may have noticed, my last read of 2013 was a Kristan Higgins book, Catch of the Day. I wanted to end the year on something I knew I’d enjoy, and Kristan Higgins didn’t let me down. But then, what to read first in 2014 without losing that high from Kristan Higgins? Yup. You (may have) guessed it: another Kristan Higgins book. I do own all of them, so why not?

Buuuuut I didn’t stop there. The next, and next, and next books I read where all Kristan Higgins, making it five in a row. And it was a glorious feeling reading book after book that left me with a smile. It was a great way to end and start the year.

So I thought, why not have FIVE days in a row of Kristan Higgins book love?! The week of Valentine’s Day because loooooooove.

And so starting tomorrow, I will post a review for each of the five books I read! I really hope you guys stop by but even more I hope that any of those posts will make you pick up one or all of her books!

ALSO! I’ve schedule a Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday all about Kristan’s books. :)

Here’s snippets of Kristan Higgins books I’ve already read, loved, and reviewed on the blog!

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Until There Was You is a book with layers and layers of story and characters, which Kristan Higgins perfects in just 300 and some pages. I loved it so much that, when finished, I hugged it close to my heart and sighed with a huge smile on my face.” (Read full review HERE)

“What was really interesting and different in Somebody to Love was that the guy was the one who yearned and pined over the girl. James fell in love with Parker the moment he first set eyes on her. In her he saw the capacity for love that was not shown to him in his life. The only problem being that she instantly disliked him for being her father’s lackey. So he definitely had his work cut out for him if he was to win her heart.” (Read full review HERE)

The Best Man opens up with Faith getting left at the altar. Even though it’s a terrible thing to happen to someone, Kristan Higgins made it humorous. This book has lots of humorous moments. And lots of touching moments, as well as infuriating ones and sexy ones. This book had it all!” (Read full review HERE)

“From the moment I started The Perfect Match, I knew it’d be fun…but heartwrenching. […] Kristin Higgins once again gives me a book that fills me with so many different emotions. She’s incredibly good at writing characters that will move me every time.” (Read full review HERE)

Just One of the Guys is the only one I’ve read that I have NOT reviewed. Only because I let too much time pass and it just never happened. But TRUST ME. It’s one of my Top Three by her. It’s firefighters, first love, family…tears, laughs. It’s everything. :)

And which books should you expect the next five days? Check it out!

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About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins

6th Nov 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: The Perfect Match by Kristan HigginsThe Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #2
Published by HQN
Pub Date: October 29th 2013
Pages: 448
Format: ARC | Source: Blog Tour
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise?

Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there…or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn't easier said than done.

Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind.

In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancé, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn't easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love….

From the moment I started The Perfect Match, I knew it’d be fun…but heartwrenching. Honor declares her love to her best guy friend, who she’s slept with for years, and he shuts her down. It was painful to read! So instantly I hated him. THEN! Her girl best friend pulls a shitty move and I hated her!! I mean, like, REALLY hated her. They just really pissed me off. And they continued to piss me off throughout most of the book. Sigh.

But then things get interesting when Honor meets Tom, a British professor of mechanical engineering that is in dire need of renewing his visa. As you can probably guess, they make an arrangement that would serve the both of them in their needs.

I loved Honor in this book. I didn’t really warm to her in The Best Man, but in this one we get to know her deeply and I loved her. Tom on the other hand was a harder character to love. Even in the end I wasn’t really sure if I loved him. I understood him, and liked a lot of things about him, but I don’t think I ever fell for him. I kind of hurt that he couldn’t let himself love Honor until the other things in his life were happy too. I did picture Jude Law from The Holiday while reading about Tom, so that was nice. :)

My issue with Tom didn’t hinder my love for this book all that much though. I continued to enjoy the setting and Honor’s family is just so freaking hilarious. I love every one of them. Like, A LOT. If you haven’t yet experienced their awesomeness, you’re completely missing out!

Kristin Higgins once again gives me a book that fills me with so many different emotions. She’s incredibly good at writing characters that will move me every time. I insist you guys check out her books if you haven’t already. And I am completely looking forward to the next Blue Heron book now. :)

Giveaway

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About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins + Guest Post

14th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Guest Posts, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins + Guest PostThe Best Man by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #1
Published by HQN
Pub Date: February 26th 2013
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Sometimes the best man is the one you least expect…

Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she's ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family's vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there's some great scenery there….

Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief—and best friend of her former fiancé. There's a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it's not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she's having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rosé, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk down the aisle.

Guys, I’m sitting here wanting to do nothing more than to go read The Best Man again. Now! I want to re-read it now!! But first I have to tell you how much I loved it.

The Best Man opens up with Faith getting left at the altar. Even though it’s a terrible thing to happen to someone, Kristan Higgins made it humorous. This book has lots of humorous moments. And lots of touching moments, as well as infuriating ones and sexy ones. This book had it all!

I loved the chemistry between Faith and Levi. The love-hate thing they have going on is beyond fun to read. The anticipation of waiting to see when they’ll finally get together almost kept me reading straight through the night. I loved that they had history from their childhood that also added to their connection now. I ate up all the flashbacks. It just made the story so much more well rounded to know their history and it made my own feelings toward them more real.

I empathized with Faith right away, so it wasn’t hard for me to like her from the beginning. She’s hilarious. And Levi, Mr. Chief of Police, was totally sexy, but, oh man, was he a grumpy one! And he was so obsessed with Faith’s rack! I did find myself wishing he’d stop bringing it up. Not that I don’t believe guys think about a girl’s rack that much, it’s just that it got old reading about it. He was also so closed off. He definitely makes our girl work for it. But, Lord, he turned out to be one amazing guy. I’m in love, you guys. *SIGH*

Faith comes from this big family and, oh my God, they cracked me up!! From her grandparents who’ve been married 65 years and seem to hate each other, to her oldest sister, whose husband is hell bent on spicing up their sex life. Oh! And lets not forget her ex-fiancé who is like part of the family. I couldn’t get enough of them all!

I cannot fully express the feeling in my heart after finishing this book; full of love and hope and smiles, is a start. I hope you guys will pick up this book and feel the same things.

Guest Post

When you come up with an idea for a novel, how do you envision it?

Generally, most of my books start with a one-line idea: what if you were left at the altar? What if your ex-fiancé was dating your sister? From there, the idea starts multiplying into scenes, almost like a cell dividing. Initially, I come up with what I call anchor scenes: pivotal scenes that are usually very funny or very sad (or both). Then I start building sections of the book around those scenes.

Secondary characters, time of year and setting also play a big role in forming the book. My books are never just about the hero and heroine, because I like to write realistic love stories. To that end, my characters have jobs and families, friends and community that play heavily into their lives and the blossoming love story. That’s another aspect I think about a lot—who are the other players, and how will their lives weave into the protagonists’? What do they show about the characters? How can they both gum up the works and smooth the way?

In some respects, I’m an insecure writer. Starting a book that will be 400+ pages long is a daunting task! To minimize the flailing I think every writer suffers, I like to outline…a lot. I start with the above, then work into a three-act synopsis, then go to a scene-by-scene outline. Of course, once I start writing the first draft, a lot changes, but the outline is a touchstone. Sometimes it holds up brilliantly; other times, it’s almost unrecognizable from the final product. Either way, it’s a necessary part of the process for me. Sometimes I have to wade through a lot of muck to get where I’m going; sometimes, it’s clear sailing. Obviously, I prefer the easier route, but I don’t always get a say. The story has tremendous power of its own, and sometimes it feels like I’m just along for the ride.

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*Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
*Winners have 48 hours to respond.

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Somebody To Love by Kristan Higgins

23rd Apr 2012 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2012, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Somebody To Love by Kristan HigginsSomebody to Love by Kristan Higgins
Series: Gideon's Cove #3
Published by HQN
Pub Date: April 24th 2012
Pages: 425
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins is back with a hilarious and heartwarming new story about a rich girl who discovers that a little hard work may be just the thing she needs...

After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father's wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she's not thrilled...even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.

Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist's assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn't the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn't the only thing that needs a little TLC.

I now proclaim myself a complete and total Kristan Higgins fangirl. And this is only the second book of hers that I’ve read! But I’m positive that any of her books will move me, because, oh boy, did Somebody to Love move me, just like Until There Was You.

What was really interesting and different in Somebody to Love was that the guy was the one who yearned and pined over the girl. James fell in love with Parker the moment he first set eyes on her. In her he saw the capacity for love that was not shown to him in his life. The only problem being that she instantly disliked him for being her father’s lackey. So he definitely had his work cut out for him if he was to win her heart.

I honestly fell in love with James. I wanted to squeeze him and…well, do other things to him too, but the point is that he needed some genuine love and affection. He’s been beating himself up his whole life for what happened when he was a kid and I must admit I shed my share of tears for him toward the end of this book. I just wanted him to be happy!! All of his scenes with Nicky, Parker’s son, tugged at my heart strings! Most of them caused me to shed some of those tears I mentioned.

And if James loves Parker, then Parker has to be a good person, right? Because he’s an amazing person. Well, she was, and I wasn’t expecting it. I thought she’d be spoiled and snotty, which she could pretend to be when need be, but she was kind and caring and funny.

There are characters in this story that are from previous books, and I kind of wish I would have read them before reading this one, but oh well. I definitely plan to read The Next Best Thing, which is the book where we first meet Parker, because I need to find out how Parker ended up having a son with Ethan, considering he’s married to her best friend now. And I also plan to read Catch of the Day and see Maggie and Malone’s story.

If you have yet to read Kristan Higgins books, don’t make the same mistake I made and wait forever to get to them. Her books will make you cry, swoon, laugh and will always leave you smiling. My heart was very happy upon finishing Somebody to Love.

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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