Thursday, April 7, 2011

"My One and Only" by Kristan HIggins

The latest release from Kristan Higgins is "My One and Only".  This was actually the FIRST book of hers that I read and then went back and read some of her previous work because I loved this one so much.

The author has the ability to make you laugh out loud one minute while you are reading and then sob the next.  A great talent, that is.  So this story focuses on Harper James, an attorney who has to go to her sister's third wedding half way across the country where she runs in to her ex-husband Nick.  It's not such a coincidence since the bride is marrying Nick's younger brother.  Small world and all that. But Harper was just on the verge of getting engaged to a much younger (and dumber) man herself and although she's not happy with his response to the thought of marrying her, she brings him to the wedding as a way of showing that she's okay with seeing Nick again.

Due to some pretty weird circumstances, Harper has to accept a ride home (Colorado to New York, essentially) from Nick and they end up taking the road trip that they had always talked about when they were married.  Being forced to be together has them talking about things that had been left unsaid for too long and realizing that the break up of their marriage was essentially not a one-way street.  It was really heart-wrenching at times to read.

As their trip goes on and they head closer to home, Nick confesses that he's never stopped loving Harper.  Having become a cynic because of her failed marriage, Harper has to decide if she is willing to try again.  This decision is made more difficult because her chosen legal field is divorce!  While it is just the two of them, things are perfect, but once back in the real world, away from their "out-of-time" road trip, the realities of their lives interfere in a big way and they both have to make sacrifices if they are going to commit to each other one more time.  The bumbling boyfriend offers some comic relief throughout and you want to smack him sometimes just because he's so stupid and clueless but he's lovable, nonetheless.

I liked Harper a LOT but she has some catch phrases that I could have used a little less of throughout the story.  I mean, we all have things that we say but I don't know anyone who says them quite as much as Harper.  Nick was a little hard to like at times but he made me see that men have feelings over breakups, too.  Good book and a great introduction to a wonderful author!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Too Good to be True" by Kristan Higgins

Okay, so another Kristan Higgins book for you!  This one had me laughing, crying, cringing a little but I blazed through it because I enjoyed it so much!

"Too Good to be True" is again written in the first person and focuses on history teacher, Grace Emerson.  Grace's ex-fiance (who calls off the wedding a mere three weeks before the big day!) begins dating her younger sister.  The whole family seems to either be tip-toeing around the subject out of pity for Grace, or being mean about her not being able to hold on to a man.

In order to save face and pretty much shut everyone up, she invents the perfect boyfriend; a pediatric surgeon who is the ultimate everything.  Unfortunately, at the same time as the make-believe man makes an appearance, a real-live one moves in right next door who is quite perfect to look at.  The only problem?  He's an ex-con.  Well, there's another problem, too.  Grace keeps hurting him physically.  This was a great thing the first time it happened (she thought he was trying to break in to the house next door) and she hit him in the face with a hockey stick but by the third time she does something, it's a little cringe-worthy.

As the story goes on, there is a lot to keep track of:  The relationship between Grace and her fake boyfriend, the relationship now developing between Grace and hunky ex-con neighbor Callahan O'Shea; both of her sister's - the one with Grace's ex-fiance (who really, I wanted to slap sometimes with her perkiness) and her older sister who is in her own marital crisis.  Grace's parents are a riot - her mother makes "erotic" are (it was originally an accident) and her father is rather mortified by the whole thing and finally Grace's grandmother who is just mean.

It's a lot to take in but it keeps the story rolling at a great pace and makes it easy to read.  It's ending is predictable with Grace having to fess-up to the make-believe boyfriend and confront the fact that she has fallen in love with an ex-con and then has to deal with the fall out of everyone else's opinion on how she's screwed up her life and be the object of pity once again.  It's a vicious cycle, really but it all ends nicely as all books should.

Another great Kristan Higgins story!

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Fools Rush In" by Kristan Higgins

Okay, ladies, fess up!  We have all been guilty of doing it at one point or another in our lives and given the chance, I think some of us might still do it today.  We have stalked "the man of our dreams".  Whether you were 12 or 22, I think it is safe to say that we have all watched from afar the one that we think ourselves in love with.

This is the plight of Millie in "Fools Rush In" by Kristan Higgins.  Millie is a doctor with her own little dream cottage on Cape Cod and decides that now, at the age of almost 30, is the time to stop "stalking" her true love, Joe Carpenter, and give herself an extreme make over that will have Joe falling in love with her.  Sigh.  

But you know the old saying "Be careful what you wish for"?  Well, Millie learns that what may "look" good, isn't always what we hope it will be.  On her campaign to make Joe fall in love with her, she takes up jogging and healthful eating and has to deal with issues of a lifetime - like always being second best to a perfect and beautiful older sister.  Old habits die hard and Millie has to fight to get her self-esteem going.

During all of this, she is helping her now ex-brother-in-law get over his divorce from Millie's selfish older sister.  The two are best friends and spend a lot of time together and you see them in a comfortable sibling-esque role.  The only problem, all of the character traits that Millie seems to believe Joe Carpenter to have really belong to her brother-in-law, Sam!

As Millie and Joe's relationship evolves, Millie sees that Joe is really all in the packaging.  Unfortunately, so does everyone else around her and now she has the awkward task of having to find out what to do with her life now that 14 years of obsession and planning are over?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the whole ex-brother-in-law thing is not a favorite of mine but the entire story really doesn't focus on that until the latter part of the book and the scenes with Millie and Joe are so entertaining that you'll find yourself laughing out loud.

"Fools Rush In" is a sweet story that I think a lot of women can relate to:  Doing everything possible to catch the eye of the guy you've always fantasized about and then finding out that the guy with a little less impressive packaging was the better choice.  Good story, well written.  Thanks, Kristan!