Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kristan Higgins: Three Reviews

I've talked about Kristan Higgins on the blog before (Reviews of My One and Only, Too Good To be True, Until there Was You). She's a kind of rainy day, feel good, swoony romance author. The first book in the Blue Heron series, The Best Man, is my fave book of hers so far -- I really surprised myself with how much I loved it last year.

She's a prolific writer, there's lots to choose from in her backlist. Here's reviews of her two most recent titles, and a 2010 title.

The Next Best Thing

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 was suddenly ridiculously excited to see a new Higgins book on netgalley. It wasn't until I was a little way in that I realised this is an older book (2010) repackaged with a more contemporary cover (I am definitely liking the new cover schemes a lot more than Higgins earlier work). 

I really liked how Higgins detoured from her usual set-up here. The Next Best Thing felt fresh and different and, perhaps, less of a romantic set-up and more of a contemporary novel with romance. Lucy is a young widow grieving her husband -- and Ethan is her brother-in-law. This set-up has all kinds of tension but Higgins takes her time laying the groundwork. She takes her sweet time -- everyone (readers and characters) can see the way Ethan feels, everyone except for Lucy (who casually, blindly uses Ethan for sexytimes). 

It's Ethan that got to me in this one. He's such a genuine guy who's been shafted so many times. And he stoically bears it all. Well, most the time :) He's also cute, swoony, cheeky and sweet (just an FYI) I loved watching their relationship, from present day, to the beginning, flashbacks and memories. I really wanted more from Lucy. She was grieving, sure, but she was so blind and clueless! Ethan was the highlight of this story and I found my attention wandering when he didn't have any page time. I felt he should forget about Lucy and find someone else who is completely into him. And it's never a good sign when the reader (me) is no longer rooting for the heroine (sorry!).

I did enjoy this for the most part, but am super hopeful for more of Higgin's future work -- she's was so impressing in The Best Man that I feel she's grown tremendously as a writer since this book :)

The Next Best Thing @ goodreads

The Next Best Thing is available now

The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2)

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 fianc√©, 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….

The Perfect Match is the classic 'fake marriage' set-up. I love the tension and scenarios that can crop up from this set-up. Especially when there is one gorgeous British guy on the scene, Tom. 

Look, straight up, it's hard from me to review this one because I have some mixed feelings, some of which may come from how much I loved the first book in this series, The Best Man. Honor is introduced in The Best Man -- and not in the most favourable of ways. I wanted to get under her skin, though, and believed in Higgins ability to work her magic. 

Even being inside Honor's head, I still found her slightly stand-offish and hard to know (although I felt quite familiar with her aging eggs, haha *eye roll*). I found Tom even more of an enigma. He cared a lot for his son, and had an English accent (always appealing, IMO) but I never truly believed his love for Honor was real and true and deep (lust, sure, love, I don't know?)

On one hand, The Perfect Match ticks all the boxes of a satisfying and fun chick-lit romance. It was swoony and fun and the pages flew by. Sexual tension was rampant. It was cute, for sure. On the other hand, I really wanted to be emotionally invested in Tom and Honor. Perhaps unfairly of me as I was coming off a real emotional connection in Faith and Levi's story in the first Blue Heron book so I raised my expectations higher than what I normally expect of this genre. 

The end result is: I had fun reading this book, there were some great swoony moments and it delivered as a rainy afternoon smiley romance but I still felt a bit let down as I wanted more, somehow. 

The Perfect Match @ goodreads

The Perfect Match is available now

Waiting on You (Blue Heron #3)

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.

Waiting on You is the third book in the Heron series. I was excited (started the moment it downloaded on my kindle) but cautious on beginning. My fave ever Higgins book is the first book in this series (The Best Man) but I didn't connect all that strongly with the 2nd book in the series (maybe a case if suddenly too high expectations?). As for this one -- Higgins is back in fine form. It doesn't rival The Best Man for my fave spot (Faith and Levi are just too awesome) but it delivers so much of Higgins trademark swoon and readability. 

Colleen has a strong personality. She's tough and friendly and seemingly indestructable, but underneath that she's still harbouring hurt from her first real love -- ten years on and she's never moved on, not really, not in her heart. But she's not ready to let him back in, especially as she loves him too much to risk a fling. As for Lucas. He's gorgeous, all pirate and swoony, and he has this achey past, making him vulnerable under his tough, unreadable exterior. It's a killer combo in a male lead. The tension between these two is fantastic. Perfect amount of smiley, grin-worthy, sigh-worthy scenes. The chemistry is palpable, and that is what Higgins does best (thank you!).

I loved watching our leads get together -- that's what always draws me to Higgins work, she has the magic touch with creating tension and swoon between her leads. I also loved how we get both perspectives -- Higgins really works that device to advantage, keeping me clicking through my kindle 'just one more chapter...' I liked the time I spent with them (I can say that for most of Higgins couples), but I do not think they will be one of my more memorable Higgins couple.

I do sometimes find Higgins subplots tiresome. I get that the families in this small town feature in all the books and are being revisited, but occasionally they are just too kooky/ridiculous/repetitive (with their interactions) for my taste. Maybe this is just a humour preference? Regardless, I will still be coming back for more Higgins as she fills her little romancey niche quite nicely. 

Waiting on you @ goodreads

Waiting on You is available from March 25 2014

My fave of these three is Waiting on You. 
Have you read Kristan Higgins? Do you have a fave?
Haven't read her yet but like contemporary romance?
I recommend The Best Man as a fab starting point

Thanks to Harlequin HQN and Netgalley for these digital review copies :)


  1. Wow. Your review of PERFECT MATCH mimics my feelings on it to the letter!

    I loved BEST MAN. Loved it.In fact, I need to reread it. I've only read it once, and when I'm in the mood for a good Higgins I tend to go for ALL I EVER WANTED or CATCH OF THE DAY. Callie & Ian . . . love them. And Malone. Ayuh.

    I'm in the middle of WAITING ON YOU right now and enjoying it so far.

  2. Interesting
    You see, I hate the next best thing, I finished the book and thought: He could have done so much better.

    And with The Best Man, while I liked it, I think I used the phrase "Can I haz Cheeseburger?" in my review because it seemed like everything and the sink was going on - Also, I find the Heron's grandparents very annoying.

    But I was more or less okay with the Perfect Match, it wasn't great but I liked Honor and Tom for the most part.

    I got Waiting on You on my review pile and I hope I like it, I like Colleen at least.

    I like seeing all the different perspectives.

    I think my favorite Higgins is All I Ever Wanted - the one with the hero who is an antisocial vet.

  3. I've never read any of her books, despite seeing lots of positive talk about them. I do have a copy of Best Man, maybe I'll give it a go!

  4. I love Kristan Higgins writing, she really is a feel-good read. Meeting her at ARRC was a highlight, she's just as funny and delightful in person. Can't wait to start on The Blue Heron series.

  5. I have I agree that The Best Man put the next Blue Heron books to shame. Or, at any rate, Levi Cooper certainly did. While I enjoyed both The Perfect Match and Waiting on You, a little something was missing from both - from this latter installment more so for me. Still, I adore Higgins's work and I'll need to read Ethan's story soon. It's one of the few I haven't gotten to yet. :)


Thanks for the commenty love :)