Review: Waiting on you by Kristan Higgins

Waiting on you is the third Blue Heron novel by Kristan Higgins. It’s still a complete stand alone story and well worth picking up by anyone interested in contemporary romance. It’s the story of Colleen, one of the two twins who run their own little business in the tiny town.

Waiting on you tells the story of Colleen, a happy, beautiful girl who specializes in giving advice about love. She has made matches around the little town she lives in and they have all ended up at the altar. However, Colleen stays away from matching herself. She was burned years ago and once was enough. Now she’s happy with helping her brother run their pub and keeping others happy. Herself? She has her big, silly Rufus, her adorable Irish Wolfhound, to keep her company.

Lucas is our hero and the man responsible for Colleen’s heart break all those years ago. Lucas has been glad to stay away from the only girl who’s ever mattered to him. Years ago, life made him leave and he’s not one to ignore duty. He’s been dealing with it, working away for years.

Life, however has other plans for both Lucas and Colleen and suddenly, Lucas is back in town. Neither is prepared for what meeting again face to face will do to them. Easy-going, never quiet Colleen is at a loss for words and Lucas can’t seem to find his reasons for leaving the town again.

These two have a history, a beautiful delicious history that we get to see as the book goes on. They also have more than one reason to be together but they seem unable to see it.

Colleen and Lucas have to work out their history, unravel what happened to mess up their first attempt at love all while surviving the issues of their quirky families. The story of how they do just that is hilarious, touching and beautiful. I loved it so much I had to go back to the store to get the next book in the series. I just couldn’t go without another book by Kristan Higgins.

This one is certainly one I’d recommend to contemporary readers of romance but also to those who would like a book with humour and a great family story. Kristan Higgins’ secondary characters are absolutely a delight and in this instalment they certainly don’t disappoint. This one is a great read and a keeper on that wonderful keeper shelf.

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

 

Review: The next best thing by Kristan Higgins

The Next Best Thing is an absolute gem. It’s slightly different than the other Kristan Higgins books I have read and the differences are all good. It’s still got her fantastic humour and great characters but this one has a little bit more. I had to read it in one go. There was no way I could put this one down, I read it and I cried and laughed. It was just incredible.

The Next Best Thing tells the story of Lucy who is a widow while being in her early twenties. Her late husband was Jimmy and we get to know him well in the book, because Lucy still adores him.

Lucy met Jimmy through his brother Ethan, a friend she knew at cooking school. They met, saw each other and that was it. One look was all it took. They were married not long after and Jimmy died only months after that.

To say Lucy was devastated by the loss is to put it mildly. The book picks up the story five and a half years after Jimmy’s death when Lucy decides to start moving on but her heart has other ideas. She has panic attacks and crying bouts. It’s not easy to leave behind the love of your life.

Helping her through the entire mess is Ethan. He’s like a rock for her. Over and over, she insists that she and Ethan can’t take things to another level because she’s not ready and he respects that. It takes Lucy a long time to figure out what her heart has been waiting for and to find the courage to act on it.

Being happily married myself, I can’t imagine the sort of loss that Lucy bravely faces. I cried for her broken heart and the pieces that were gone. I truly believed someone would go through the grief and dark places that Lucy goes through. I understood her stumbling attempts at trying to put her life back together. Grief isn’t neat and orderly, it’s gripping and devastating. People don’t emerge from that sort of loss complete and without scars.

But the moving, incredible part of the story, was Ethan. Solidly supportive, he hides his own feelings in order to be there for her. And, though I was pretty ready to not like Ethan for taking Lucy away from Jimmy, by the end of the book, I adored this hero, who had stood by her for years waiting for his happily ever after.

There are also great secondary characters here, in Lucy’s family and friends. I won’t spoil the book by giving away too many details, but I will say that they were warm, funny and inviting. I would have loved to visit and meet them all.

There are twists and turns in the story. Things are revealed at the end that made me stare at my dogs in awe and get goosebumps up and down my arms. I cried and laughed and rejoiced when the book arrived at the ending. I couldn’t wait for Ethan and Lucy to get together.

I can tell this is one story where Kristan Higgins has put a lot of work. It’s not just a happy, go lucky contemporary book. This is one that would definitely win awards.

If you haven’t already realized it, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone. I really believe this is an example of romance writing at it’s best. Not simple fluffy story, this is a true love story in all its glory. It’s one to treasure.

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

 

Review: All I ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

All I ever Wanted was not just another hit by Kristan Higgins, it was really special. It has the usual great elements I expect from this author, a great story, fantastic characters and hilarious humour but there was something really special about this one that made me want to start to re-read it the moment I finished it. Looking back, I can’t decide what is the one thing that made it stand out for me. There are quite a few.

For one Callie, the heroine, was so nice she might have gone over into the silly area if she hadn’t been called on her overly-nice issue. She’s literally nice to those who are mean to her. Thankfully, she wises up and even doses out a little revenge. Callie stayed happy, nice and safely away from being too sugary.

Ian is our hero and he’s just hilarious. He’s formal, tense and just about every awkward attribute you can imagine. He’s truly good looking but he seems unable to know what to do with all the attention that gets him and more than once he ends up tongue-tied and staring like a deer in the headlights.

The way they meet is delicious because, at the get-go, they actually dislike each other. That in itself created more than a few fireworks and the chemistry didn’t let up. Ian isn’t one for romance or poems. This is no Cyrano. He’s a great vet, realistic in that he gets alone with animals and freezes in front of a gaggle of little girls. I have to be honest and add that he reminded me of my hubby. I absolutely adored him.

Callie has an adoring dog and lives with her grumpy grandfather. I was cautious about this living arrangement at first. How could a grandfather be funny or interesting? This guy was absolutely hilarious. He’s grumpy and really funny.

In fact, one of the things I loved the most about this book were the secondary characters. This was a town I wanted to live in. Callie’s family, from the icy mother to the quirky sister are awesome and I looked forward to their interactions with each other and with her. They deliver great lines and drew more than one chuckle from me as I read.

Finally, Callie gets herself into some fixes that are just awesome in how comical they are. There are limitations to how funny an author can make a situation due to the fact that everything has to be translated into written words. Expressions, noises, smells, in real life they are powerful contributors to humour. Kristan Higgins does an amazing job with humour. I felt like I could hear, smell and see every hilarious detail. And they were simply delicious.

An absolute keeper, I can easily recommend this one as one of my favourites from this author. If you haven’t tried Kristan Higgins yet, do it and do it with this book. I know I was glad I found it and even gladder I tried her. She’s one of the best out there.

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

 

Review: In your dreams by Kristan Higgins

In your dreams was another gem by Kristan Higgins. Hard to know how she comes up with not only a great couple but a new, fantastic set of quirky secondary characters. Add a great plot and you have a great book.

Emmaline Neal not only has an adorable German Shepherd puppy, she also has an invitation to go to the wedding of her ex-fiance. Now, going to a wedding of an ex would be something I wouldn’t do because it’d be too difficult and I wouldn’t put myself through that, but Em is just a sweetie and doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, even her ex’s. So, off she goes. Still, she can’t go alone, so she asks super hottie, Jack Holland to go with her.

Jack has his own reasons to go. He’s in a bit of a private version of torture. A while back, he saved four children from drowning in icy water and the result has left him with attention he doesn’t really handle well and a bad case of PTSD.

I immediately loved that Jack wasn’t perfect. I don’t do well with characters that don’t have flaws and Jack certainly has them. I take off my hat to Kristan Higgins because she does a fantastic job of explaining PTSD from a male point of view. It was realistic, authentic and, at times, even funny.

Of course, there’s a twist and, this is a love story after all, Jack and Em end up together. Still, there is a wonderful story here with that hilarious humour I adore from Kristan Higgins and a ton of awesome characters to enjoy. From Jack’s ex-wife to Em’s family, there are just fun parts everywhere and I enjoyed every word.

I certainly would recommend this one. To be honest, just about every book I’ve found from Kristan Higgins has ended up with my recommendation. She’s a super-reliable author and has made it to my automatic-buy list because as soon as I finished this one, I was in withdrawal and the only thing that would end that pain was another book by Kristan Higgins. She’s just awesome.

(Credit: kristanhiggins.com)

(Credit: kristanhiggins.com)

Note: to go to site, click on cover.

Late Post – Review: Friction by Sandra Brown

Friction is another nail-biter from Sandra Brown. From the very first paragraph, to the last sentence, I was caught by the story and could not put the book down. Every time I got to the end of a chapter, something monumental would be revealed and I had to keep reading. A roller coaster of a book, this one is a definite keeper.

Friction is the story of Holly, a judge and Crawford, a Texas Ranger who’s trying to get his daughter back. They meet inside the courtroom where Holly is ruling on his custody plea. Before she can try and do that, there’s a commotion and a gunman enters the courtroom shooting.

I hadn’t read much about the back, I just started on the book and it pays to not know what is going to happen, because each turn and twist left me gasping, staring at the book in disbelief–and there are a lot of turns and twists.

I loved that Holly was a professional woman in a job that’s not usually reserved for the heroine. I liked that she had a job in law enforcement. And Holly takes that responsibility very seriously, further endearing her to me.

Crawford, on the other hand, has had a few too many punches from life and is a little cynical. He doesn’t care who understands him or who hates him. When he’s trying to help Holly out, his attitude sometimes backfires and causes more difficulties. He’s still hard to resist. Under all that tough bravado, he’s got a heart of gold and will give everything in his power to help out someone in distress. That’s hard not to like.

This one is a well-written, powerfully addictive book. One that I loved reading during the hot summer days and will enjoy again and again. If you haven’t tried Sandra Brown, check this one out and, if you’re a fan, don’t miss out. This one is a keeper.

(credit:sandrabrownbooklist.com)

(credit:sandrabrownbooklist.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

Sneak Review: The Girl on the Train

I have to admit, the book is not romance and not on my list of books to read this year or even on my radar when I saw it. I shouldn’t have read it. I’m a romance fan and I should have integrity…but a friend lent it to me if I wanted to give it a try. It was free and in my hands. I just couldn’t resist.

The Girl on the Train is a thriller. It’s the story of Rachel, who travels back and forth on the train every day to London and, one day witnesses something on one of the houses nearby that makes her a witness to a tragedy.

Because it’s a thriller, I don’t want to reveal what happens, not even a little bit. You can go on line and find those spoilers there for you, but I don’t want to harm the reading experience of those potential readers by disclosing too much. Instead, I’ll ramble on about what I liked about this book and what I thought of it.

For one, the tone. It’s written in the first person and, when done right, that’s captivating. My impression of Rachel was both powerful and personal. I knew her inside out within a couple of chapters.

The other thing that’s done really well is the pace. It grew slowly and picked up speed gently, almost without letting me realize it, I was suddenly flipping pages and things were going nuts. I stopped doing anything else and ignored my husband because I had to finish this book.

Since it’s set in London, the tone and expressions of every character is very British. I loved that. It was so accurate that I could practically hear the accent. I particularly loved the setting and the tea references. So UK.

It was realistic. That was something else I appreciated about it immensely. It didn’t have a radical, extraordinary ending that threw everything else I had read into question. No, the ending actually answered questions and fit like a beautiful final piece into the rest of the story.

Now, if you’d like to try this book, I think you can already tell that I would definitely recommend it, it’s written by Paula Hawkins and it’s her first book. It’s a bestseller, so there are definitely a lot of people out there who’d recommend it but, since it’s her first book, there aren’t any more to read until she comes out with the next one. I have a solution to that dilemma. If you like this book, I’d recommend Sandra Brown. I know she writes romance but it’s thriller romance and absolutely a page-turner. If you like this one, you’ll also love Sandra Brown.

(credit:wikipedia)

(credit:wikipedia)

 

 

 

Warning: Obsession ahead

I have discovered Kristan Higgins and I can’t seem to be able to read anything else. There might be a fair amount of her books coming your way in the next bit or so. I’ll also read other authors, but I thought it’s only fair to warn my lovely readers that there might be a bit of a trend in the books you see reviewed here.

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

She loves animals, has a great sense of humour and is an awesome author…what’s a reader to do? 🙂

Review: The Wicked Duke

Madeline Hunter is definitely an author that I keep tabs on. She writes historical romance and, in my humble opinion, doesn’t always get the credit she deserves. She’s a fantastic writer and has written many books that happily sit on my keeper shelf. So, when I read the back story of The Wicked Duke, it went on my TBR pile immediately.

Lancelot Hemingford is the Duke of Aylesbury, a rake with a devilish reputation with women. Unfortunately, he’s also suspected of his brother’s murder, something that bothers Lance enough that he wants to finally be rid of the condemnation. To clear his name, he makes a bit of a deal with the devil and, in the process, ends up married to Marianne Radley.

Marianne is legally dependent on her uncle, but she’s incredibly intelligent and smart. She’s figured out a way to make money–something of an impossibility for women back then–by writing under a pseudonym gossip letters to the newspaper. It’s that same cunning that has her sniffing out what truly happened to the Duke’s bother.

Their marriage is a busy one. Things start to be uncovered. First and foremost, the Duke wants to clear his name but, along the way, secrets are revealed that test their commitment to each other. The wonderful aspect of the book is that they fall in love with each other by the end, something I was hoping for all along but fearing might never happen.

The Wicked Duke has a great pace. It’s not rushed, the marriage doesn’t happen three days after they meet or anything and yet, I kept turning pages trying to find out what was going to happen next. I think what kept me glued was the great characters, the sad but not over-the-top circumstances and the superb dialogue. Historical romance dialogue has to show feeling without using today’s expressions and that’s not easy with polite, restrictive English sayings. Still, Madeline Hunter manages to do just that.

Madeline Hunter is certainly no dim wit. She has a PhD in art history and more than twenty seven nationally bestselling historical romances in print. If you haven’t tried her before now, check out her website and try some of her books or go for this one. It might be the third in a trilogy but it can be easily read on its own and it’s got everything you want in a historical romance, the love story, the historically accurate pieces and dialogue, great characters and a rakish duke. It’s definitely a great summer read.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: to go to site, click on cover.

 

Review: Catch of the Day

Catch of the Day is a light, contemporary read. It’s got sadness in it, but it’s also got comedy and a set of characters that kept me turning pages. It’s by Kristan Higgins, who seems to find a way to turn any story into an addiction for me. She’s that good.

Catch of the Day tells the story of Maggie. Maggie is awesome. I loved that she owned the only diner in a tiny coastal town. She greets the locals every day and brings meals to shut ins and any local fundraisers. Not only is she super nice, she’s also super-kind. Finally, she has a dog, an elderly lab named Colonel who’s just a gentle soul and who I instantly adored.

Poor Maggie has a problem, though. Everyone sees her as either a daughter or a sister, so there are no possibilities for romance or even a date. Her twin sister, Christy is married and has a beautiful little baby and, while I would be totally jealous, Maggie babysits for free and adores both her sister and her niece.

Before you get the impression that Maggie is just perfect, let me dispel that. Maggie has the terrible tendency to talk…her mouth off. When she has a crush on someone, she tends to tell everyone…and that tends to spread in her little town like wild fire. She also tends to like impossible men, like the town’s priest.

Thankfully, Maggie and the priest stay friends and we get to meet Malone, a gruff fisherman with a heart of gold who rescues Maggie out of more than one fix and then steals her heart.

I make it sound so simple and straightforward but there’s a lovely story here, with great characters and an awesome doggie. Catch of the Day was absolutely heavenly for me. It had humour, great, easy writing, good twists that I didn’t seem coming and a great ending. It was so good, I cut my conversation on the phone with Hubby short so that I could finish it–and I had really missed him.

If you’re a contemporary fan, definitely give Kristan Higgins a try. If you haven’t read her before, this one is a great place to start–though I have yet to find one of her books that I don’t devour in a day. And if you like something with romance and a great sidekick with soft brown eyes, Catch of the Day is definitely for you. A great summer read.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Review: Until there was you

Kristan Higgins is a new-to-me author. Don’t ask me how it is that I have missed her all these years. I have no idea. I must have been living under a rock. I was at the used book store and someone recommended her to me and I picked up a book of hers because (this is terrible!) I liked the dog on the cover.

Still, once discovered, she won’t stay away from my radar for long. Not after I read this book by her, Until there was you. It was absolutely awesome.

The plot is nothing that hasn’t been seen before, but it was still delicious enough to pull me in. It’s the story of Posey Osterhagen, who owns her own salvaging company (salvaging things, though she’d like to salvage and reno a victorian house), has an adorable Great Dane and a quirky family. The hottest guy in the school broke her heart back in high school and Posey moved on…but he’s back in town.

So Posey is absolutely awesome. She’s kind, supportive of her hilarious friends, yet manages to put some boundaries when said friends sometimes take advantage. She also gives back as good as she gets in the conversation sparring department and that won her a ton of stars in my book.

Liam is our guy, the same one who was mean to Posey back in high school. But he’s not the typical cool, snob. Liam has his own quirks that aren’t as dark and scary as some of the alpha heroes I’ve read in other books. Liam’s wife died recently and trying to cop, along with raising his daughter, have given him not only a bit of stress but some OCD. Now OCD is nothing to laugh about…but with Liam, it’s really almost funny.

That’s the thing that brought Kristan Higgins’ book from good to super, the humour. Her characters are hilarious. Let me give you a sample.

Posey is described in the book as stick-like. She didn’t have too many curves. And she’s often looked over by men for other who are more…well, read and see.

“…the woman next to him, a middle-aged woman whose bosom could shelter a family of four and their Bernese mountain dog.”

The humour in the book doesn’t lag and doesn’t belittle the struggle between the hero and heroine either. I cried with this book and then rejoiced at the ending.

And yes, the Great Dane, Shilo was awesome and silly and all the things big dogs are. I loved reading about him.

You might have read Kristan Higgins and wonder what on earth took me this long but if you haven’t, learn from my mistake. She’s really, really good. Good enough that I’m heading back to the used book store to snag a couple more books by her and I’m adding her to my authors-to-watch list.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.