Review: Anything for You by Kristan Higgins

Anything for You is the fifth book in the Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins. It’s the story of the other twin, Connor and the book that I couldn’t wait to read once I read Colleen’s story. Certainly it’s one of a series, but it’s also a fantastic stand alone book, so don’t let that deter you from this fantastic author.

Anything for You is Connor’s story. He’s been in love with a girl forever and then some. The only problem is that she doesn’t think they can work things out. So, Connor waits and hopes and waits.

Jessica met Connor when they were only little and in a terrible accident involving their dog and her little brother who happens to have special needs. Since then, they have both tried to move on and leave things be but couldn’t. Jessica in particular, has been busy trying to give her brother a good home, a supportive environment and a good income. In her mind, her brother, who has very special needs due to nothing he’s ever done, deserves to have things made as easy as she can for him. Since their parents were both alcoholics and completely unreliable, Jessica has taken it upon herself to give him the best future she can.

It’s not an easy situation for Jessica, she works without a break, moves them from a rental home to a more permanent house always, always putting her brother first. When Connor comes along supportive, loving and caring, it’s almost beyond her to push him away. She’s had a life of nothing but sacrifices. It’s almost inhuman to have to push her one love away.

But there are issues to work out and her brother is only one of the problems standing in their way. Their father suddenly reappears in town interested in establishing a relationship with them, there is someone at work creating trouble for Jessica and Connor wants more than a simple relationship from her. He wants forever.

The way these two work things out is yet another triumphantly beautiful story by Kristan Higgins. The town is fast becoming a favourite of mine with those lovely, hilarious secondary characters and their antics made me laugh out loud more than once. Still, they are secondary to this lovely story and finally, Connor and Jessica do get their happy ending.

Absolutely another book I’d recommend from Kristan Higgins. She’s truly a very special writer, one that can weave sadness and humour into her stories without belittling the struggles or dimming the humour. Her books are a great choice and I have yet to read one of hers that’s a dud. Still, this one is truly special, so if you’re looking for a great read, one that will take you in and introduce you to a great set of characters while telling you a beautiful love story, look no further.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Note: Click on cover to go to site.

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 Obsession by Nora Roberts

I read the back cover of this book a while ago and I’ve been waiting and waiting for the soft cover for months. It just sounded sooo good.

This is the cover of the book:

“Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, she revealed her father’s horrible crimes and made him infamous. No matter what she does, Naomi can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

“Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kidney residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up–especially Xander Keaton.”

There’s more to the cover, but I didn’t need to read it, I was already caught. I loved the premise of a woman with a wound from her past that was trying to find herself, define her future in her own terms in a small town. I loved that she was trying to renovate a massive, old, rambling house and that she was a photographer with a flexible job. To boot, this book was written by Nora Roberts–if there’s one unfailingly reliable Queen of Romance out there, it’s got to be her. I could barely wait until it came out on paperback.

I got it this Friday and, by Saturday, I had read the entire thing. I gobbled it up. Still, I’ll add that it was sooo delicious that I forced myself to take breaks and savour the writing, the description and the story. It was really, truly superb.

There are many parts of this book that I adored.

I loved the back story. Usually, it’s a deterrent and something that I want to get through as quickly as possible in order to get to the main story but this time, I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved young Naomi, born in tragedy and battling to find her own way even as fear ate away at her. I loved her wise and strong brother, Mason. Realistic, cute and even funny, he became a hero after my own heart and I wished he would get his own book every time I met him in the book.

The abuse and patterns of behaviours in the story were solid. There were no sudden changes of behaviour, no unbelievable defeats of addiction or cures that could never take place in real life. I honestly and truly believed they would have happened just as described and that made the book all the more gripping for it’s realistic zeal.

The renovation of the old house, built slightly outside the small town was incredibly appealing. I’d love to have the chance to do just that, to sit by a beautiful view with a cup of coffee and stare at the rising sun. And the characters in the little town were cute, funny and so real I could see them.

One of the best parts was Tag, the dog Naomi rescues and falls in love with. A mutt with a gold heart, I loved him from the moment he came into existence and adored both the rescue and the funny bits he added to the story.

Of course, Naomi and Xander are the leads and are fantastic leads at that. Nora Roberts is known for her strong female leads and Naomi didn’t let me down. She was strong, confident, hard working and determined to stand up for herself. An amazing heroine worthy of hottie Xander.

Nora Roberts is an ace at contemporary romance and I, for one, believe this her at her best. I have read other books by her that weren’t as fascinating, fun and enjoyable and I was delighted to find her writing back to her amazing, winning style. It might be an old recipe for her, but it’s a winning one for me. This book is staying home with me, kept in its spot on the shelf for future reading. It’s just that good. Whether you’re a fan of her or a fan of romance, this one is one you don’t want to miss.

(credit: goodreads.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.

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.

Review: The Liar

I love Nora Roberts. She’s truly the master of romance. She’s on my automatic-buy list for good reason and she never disappoints. Case in point, The Liar.

It’s the story of Shelby who’s husband is just about the worst sort of person you could know. He lies to her (ahem, title!) and sucks her into a huge debt. Shelby stays oblivious to this because Richard (the slug of a man) belittles her into not asking financial questions by calling her names and basically emotionally abusing her.

Shelby finds out the truth when Richard dies in an accident and comes to face one surprise after another. He leaves her in crippling debt–and I mean millions of it–with a little girl to take care of and not a single support system in place. Turns out, he wasn’t rich, he wasn’t loyal to her and he wasn’t even called Richard. Shelby valiantly fights off the debt by selling most of their things, including engagement ring that wasn’t real, and the house they lived in. Then heads back to her home to continue dealing with the debt by getting a job but doing it while surrounded by family.

It’s when she returns home that the story really takes off. She’s in a deliciously tiny town full of great characters that are both wacky and hilarious. Her family is awesome, just the sort I’d like to have if I was in her shoes, and her daughter is cute as a button.

It’s also here that Nora shows her true brilliance. One of the most difficult parts of a book that includes a move is the saggy middle. Nora keeps the story rolling with Richard’s past resurfacing its ugly head and Shelby having to deal with one surprise after another.

Another truly difficult challenge was the hero. Griffin is a wonderful hero, patient, caring and funny. But a hero like that runs the risk of becoming too nice and entering the brother-affection area. Under any other author, I could see Griffin and Shelby quickly losing chemistry. He’s so nice, she’s so nice…it would be just plain boring. But here, they keep that spark and I credit Nora for that.

And finally, those cute village people and Shelby’s daughter are in the story but they don’t take over the story–something that is another dangerous pitfall for some books. They leave the centre stage clearly to Shelby by carefully constructed phrases that move the story along. Nora Roberts is a pro. She does it so well, it looks effortlessly. Just like it should.

The Liar is a contemporary romantic story that’s just simply delicious. Absolutely a great summer read, but also something to enjoy in the fall, or the winter months or reread for those blah February days. I know I’ll go back to it again to revisit those great powerful scenes and fabulous characters. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in romance and certainly to any Nora Roberts fan. What a great read.

(credit:amazon.com)

(credit:amazon.com)

Note: to go to site, click on cover.

Review: The Last Boyfriend

Though this book is the second in the series, it can certainly be read as a stand alone. I had to read it in order, though to give the books the full effect and read them as they were intended but don’t let that stop you if you have this one in hand. It’s excellent.

The Last Boyfriend is the story of Owen and Avery, two of my favourites. Owen is the meticulously organized man who runs the business side of the construction build with his brothers. Avery is inspirational, spur of the moment and, like all of Nora’s heroines, hard working and determined. She runs her own restaurant at the same town.

Owen is realistic and respectful. He’s known and been friends with Avery for a long time. He’s the guy she can lean on when the restaurant is swamped to put on an apron and lend a helping hand.

The move from friend to boyfriend is always tricky. There has to be chemistry along with care and dependability and sometimes, with old friends, things become just boring. Not so with Owen and Avery. They are wonderfully written, realistic and still create a beautiful love story that kept me glued to the book.

I love that the book lingered and showed all the parts of their lives, from friends to the relationships with their mom to get togethers with brothers. It made me feel as though I was enjoying a slice of their lives, not just getting a short, abbreviated route to a romantic end. Nora Roberts knows when to linger and when to move on. Her timing is exquisite.

There’s always a dangerous part in a book and that’s the saggy middle. The same can be said of middle books but this one shines brightly among the three. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, don’t miss this one. It’s a gem.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)