A very strong finish saved this book from being 3 stars which is a very low rating for a Kristan Higgins for me. I did not like Charlie, Tom’s “stepson”. There was just no excuse for his behavior. He was just stupid. Even at almost the end, he was sullen and ungrateful. I would have liked to see him redeem himself much more sufficiently. Maybe in the next book, we’ll hear tell of an epiphany. Did not buy him at all. Or Tom’s devotion to him, for that matter. Talk about a glutton for punishment. The English accent was slightly too much. This book has the usual Kristan tropes, for example using a substitute cutsie-pie word for a genuine curse word. That got old 7 books ago. But still, she is a very talented and funny writer who can bring the tears as well as the guffaws. She can add suspense to a relationship even when you know you won’t be betrayed by the end. The highest praise for a romantic comedy is that she keeps you turning the pages in delight. Those authors are few and far between. (SEP is another one.) I already have #3 on pre-order. ***revised 05/02/2017****This time, I was much more OK with Charlie’s reformation. He did turn it around at the end and realized that Tom was his real father, not his bio-Dad. I still think Tom was too much of a saint to put up with him, though. The end still saved this book for me. I was on the edge of my seat and greatly moved at the same time through the climactic scene. One more note, brought up by a few other reviewers, is Honor’s constant dialogue with her ovaries. It was very tiresome. Very. **4 stars out of 5**
After re-reading this first book in the Blue Heron series, it still earns 4 stars from me. The love story between “Princess Super-Cute” and Levi, the taciturn law-man, still charmed me. I had forgotten that Faith was not always the people-pleasing little sweetie-pie that she is throughout the book, and that she harbored a dark (in her mind) secret involving her mother’s death that changed her. I had also forgotten that Levi, the chief of police had some demons to slay as well. The confrontation scene that accomplishes that is so very satisfying. No one brings the chuckles and the tears better than MS Higgins! The scene where the gardener, Jane, seeming a lovely woman reveals her true colors is so funny! She seems a perfect match for their father, whom they are trying to lure away from the totally inappropriate Lorena (she redoes her roots with a sharpie). Kristan sets it up perfectly. Jane turns out not to be just a vegetarian, but a “rawist”. (She doesn’t eat anything that has been cooked.)
The veggie platter was supposed to serve twenty but at the rate Jane was going, she’d polish that off then start on the table, which was hopefully gluten-free…she picked up another handful of carrots and started chainsawing through them, little flecks of orange flying from her lips. ‘You should try it. I have literally no mucus issues anymore. And I’m never constipated.’
I think it’s safe to say that Kristan Higgins does not hold with eccentric dietary requirements.**4 stars out of 5**
***09/26/2022 reread on audible***Still 5 stars. I still consider this one one of her best. Complex characters, very romantic, very emotional, very funny. I do have a slightly different take from my January of 2017 thoughts below. Nick more than met Harper halfway all through the book. She was the love of his life and he was upfront about that from the beginning. But because of her abandonment by her mother on her 13th birthday, she was “emotionally constipated” and unable to give herself freely and wholeheartedly to a relationship. As much as she loved Nick, she had a fear of commitment that kept her one foot in, and one foot out of their marriage. So this time, I was glad that she desperately ran after him and got the ferry stopped in the most dramatic way possible. Nick deserved to be run after for a change. It restored some balance to the romance which, this time, I thought was sorely needed.***
**January 2017 reread***I believe this is her best of her earlier books. It has some of the most comedic scenes and wittiest, snappiest dialogue, despite the irritating habit of making up a signature expletive for her heroines (Oh Crotch!). The scene with the bear and the napping old horse was a scream.
It is insightful and one of the most moving. The relationship between the two protagonists, in fact, all of the relationships, were very well developed. You could see both of their sides, though I, at least, felt that our heroine was more justified and Nick was more at fault in their initial break-up. I like that he stepped up at last and shouldered his share of the blame. I just wish Harper had not run after him like she did. I would have liked it better if he had not got on the ferry and was heading back to her. It would have been more right. My heart was in my mouth at her meeting with Linda and when she got the letter. And I was sobbing during her Her reconciliation with her Dad and the scene with her stepmother, Beverlee. It was so well done. Not only one of Kristan’s best so far (top 3) but one of the best I have read of this sort ever.**5 stars out of 5**
Then again, her family dinners consisted of carefully modulated voices swapping bitter insults disguised in psychobabble, compliments from Angela and grunts from herself. Topics of discussion included self-actualization, repressed memories and why Emmaline was wasting her life, with a side of martinis.
In Your Dreams is another first class romantic comedy from Kristan Higgins. Although not in my top 5 of her books, it contains her usual humor and pathos . It’s not everyone who can include slapstick, witty banter, and situation comedy (the Norman-Bates wedding?)while always bringing a tear to your eye. Everything was fine. She is not losing her touch, as so many writers seem to, eventually. The one quibble I had with this one was that there was no cathartic comeuppance for the “bad guys.” Emmaline’s ex-fiancé and ex-“big guy” and his abusive fitness trainer bride just did not suffer at all from their unjust and mean treatment of our heroine nor their over the top healthy lifestyle. Kristan delivers on the comic fodder here! Apparently they live happily ever after. There was a long flashback setting up the very well fleshed out Kevin character (no pun intended) and how he came to treat Emmaline so unjustly, but all that build up just did not pay off in him getting his just desserts (again, no pun intended) despite a bit of closure near the end. The wedding was fraught with comic and dramatic possibilities that went unrealized. The “big scene” was a disappointment, starting off well, but just kind of withering on the vine. I also felt that huge opportunities were lost on the distaff side with Jack’s psycho southern belle ex-wife. The build up was so great, but there was never any real catharsis. He had her number and, yes, Hayley finally revealed herself in all her damaged psychotic glory, but not publicly, and ultimately managed to turn it around to unjustly reflect poorly on Emmaline. Not enough good triumphing over evil for me. However, despite the lack of my seeing enough Karmic pay-off, Kristan has delivered again. She remains an automatic buy from for me.**4 stars out of 5**
I was a little disappointed in this one, my 5th, by Kristan Higgins. the laugh out loud hilarity balanced by the poignancy such as in Catch of the Day, All I ever Wanted, and Too Good to be True is not as strong in this one. I would put it on par withSomebody to Love. the ending was much too rushed and the motivations of the hero for rejecting Chas up until the final page were murky to say the least. Still…a very talented writer. am willing to put up with the occasional disappointment to capture the lightning in a bottle I am finding with most of her books. ***reread 01/25/2017***** On audio book and kindle. I did bump this up a star. Despite it’s lame ending and Trevor’s confusing behavior throughout the book, the humor was top-notch and loved the large family dynamic. Lot’s of secondary characters, each of which were well-developed with unique personalities. **4 stars out of 5**
Regrettably, to be fair to her other books which I enjoyed more, I’ll have to give this one a 3. It had all the prerequisite Kristan Higginsisms. I really liked the hero and heroine (even though she was quite overbearing and full of herself), though they were more stereotypical in their ways than some of her characters from other books. Funny scenes? check. but somehow, not laugh out loud funny. Touching situations? check. But not enough to bring tears to my eyes (much). Nice people are rewarded and Mean people get their comeuppance, but did not suffer quite enough. It would have been a 4 but for 2 very annoying characters: Bryce, the hero Lucas’s brother, was just too stupid: and not in a funny way, but in a way that did real harm to those I really liked. The second was Colleen’s mother. She provided some comic relief, but her overarching weakness was just a pall on the book. The third thing was that the reader was teased throughout the book about the identity of her twin Connor’s new girlfriend, but the mystery is never answered. Kind of a cheat. Likely the 4th Blue Heron will delve into that, which would be perfectly fine with me. ****revised review*****04/08/2017. Some of my complete opposite reactions on this read might be to the fact that I listened to this one on audible rather than read it. This one had a lot more heartache and tragic situations than many of her books. Lucas’ Dad, his treatment from his aunt, his aunt’s treatment of her husband Joe, Colleen’s heartbreak. Even Ellen’s unrequited love for her husband and loss of the baby, Colleen’s dad’s rejection of his children by his first wife, Gail’s treatment of her daughter Savannah (redeemed near the end), Gramps, Brice’s eulogy for his father, Joe’s death. There’s more. But it had it’s share of triumphs and laughs as well. Evil villains are really evil, and other evil villains (Savannah’s mother) are not as evil as you think. Tears were shed, throat was aching, and the snorts of laughter were many. Some things did get tedious and trite: “Mia” and “Spaniard” nicknames, “sphincter”, Brice’s surfer vocabulary: Dude! Word!, the repetitive descriptions of Colleen and Lucas’s sexual attraction, for example. Since I now know the out come of Connor’s story, in one of her best books, the 5th Blue Heron, which run’s semi-concurrently with this one, the main reason for my 3 star rating is removed. So almost a 4 star this time around. **4 stars out of 5**
But I felt stupid, crying by myself, and besides, Digger kept trying to climb up on my lap and lick the delicious combination of salty tears and Cheetos dust off my face. I pushed him down and blew my nose. I wanted to call someone….There was nobody. Nobody would understand. Boo hoo hoo. Pulling the afghan over me, I fumbled for the remote and clicked on the TV, unaware that the next day, everything would change.
This was the second to last book in my Kristan Higgins Marathon. This one started off slow, but I liked it more and more as the book went on. I always enjoy a good evil sister/good sister angle. Much of the humor in this one came from the reader being able to see through Millie’s crush from the very beginning, and her being so blind and clueless as to his true character and intelligence level. When is she finally going to see through him and recognize her true feelings for Sam? It kept me in a constant state of anticipation. (What will finally make the light turn on??) As it turns out, it is pretty bad. Kristan is very great at showing a character’s personality, rather than telling. It’s up to the reader to read between the lines. Kristan has a whole set of gimmicks that she uses in every single book. Someone should really do a spreadsheet. Cute interjection? lovable old people? unlovable old people? quirky townspeople? Secondary romance? older relative’s marriage on the rocks? Mean but misunderstood relative? check check check and check. Still, I enjoy even the clichés written by her, I get drawn in every time, into a funny, fun, and romantic comfort zone.
01/08/2023 Not too many thoughts to add upon finishing the audio version as a re-read. Xe sands is far from my favorite reader, but she was OK with this one. My last few sentences about Kristan’s little gimmicks do not really hold true, though, in this novel. This one does not include a family marriage on the rocks, and I don’t recall any quirky townspeople or cute interjections either. another common Kristan trope is not in play here either: a very difficult mother. However, it does include some other tropes: Gay best friends, solid best girlfriend, disastrously hilarious date, a fun local bar, and wonderful and flawless teenage boy beloved by all. But Kristan does these so well they just add to the enjoyment. The drama near the end was very entertaining, believable, and added a good bit of tension, emotion, and suspense. I loved that the misunderstanding providing a final roadblock to the happy ending was resolved quickly, sensibly, and romantically. It was also pretty cute and funny. The ending in this one was particularly satisfying and touching. Lots of descriptors there in one short paragraph there!
Anything For You starts out with our hero’s (Connor) proposal to our heroine (Jessica) being turned down. The rest of the book traces their history together from their childhood to several months into the future. It runs roughly parallel to his twin sister Colleen’s romance told in the previous book,Waiting on You. Many friends and lovers from the series make important appearances, advancing the story, and allowing glimpses into how their lives and marriages are continuing. Thus it makes a very appropriate wrap up to her Blue Heron series.Anything For You also continues Higgins’ trend of incorporating more serious themes into her generally lighthearted and funny romances. In this one we learn that the mysterious Jessica, very much a background figure in a few of her books and known as the high school slut, is the loving caretaker and sister of Davey, rendered “intellectually disabled” by fetal alcohol syndrome. Dark indeed. But, as usual, Kristan handles this potentially depressing sub-plot in a manner that makes it anything but. We are treated to some priceless scenes and funny quips throughout, Kristan’s hallmark.
In one, Jessica is forced to try stripping to afford Davey’s expensive meds. Connor shows up coincidentally and is set to pay up and go (“Time to head off before his old catechism teacher showed up.”) as Jessica makes her cringe-worthy and hilariously inept debut. After she is booed off the stage, he accosts her in her dressing room.
“So rhythm isn’t really your thing,” Connor said…and she jumped out of her chair like he’d tazed her. “Shit”…”What are you doing here?”…I’m a scout for Dancing with the Stars. Sorry we’ve had to rule you out.”…”I needed some extra money”. ..”Really? It’s not your dream to be a stripper?” “Shut up”…”So Jess,” Mrs. Adamson said, thundering down the hall. “You’re fired. Sorry, kid. Stripping’s not for everyone.” “You were quite good, though, Mrs. Adamson,” Connor said. He handed her a twenty. “Oh Connor O’Rourke! Look at you, all grown up!” Thanks sweetheart.” She pinched his cheek and took the cash. There are scenes that make you want to cheer. Jessica’s alcoholic father (Keith Dunn) shows back up after many years wanting to make amends. Horrified, she apprehensively agrees to meet him, and without asking, her friends, the once hated Holland family, take seats in the restaurant to back her up and provide support if needed.
“Okay, you’re angry, I accept that.” …He sighed. And I can’t undo what I did. But I love you and Davey—“ “No you don’t.” I have a disease, Jessie. “I don’t want to hear it. Mom had a disease, remember? She died, if you recall and right after that, you blew out of town, took out three credit cards in my name and put me fourteen grand in the hole while I waitressed to support your disabled son.” There was a clatter from the Holland table. Jess had the impression that Pru had just grabbed a sharp object, God bless her…. I think you’re exaggerating how bad things were,” he said, and that’s when Jessica completely surprised herself and threw her beer in his face. Connor is on a date in the same restaurant (Ah ha! Ah ha! Ah ha ha ha. That was her laugh. The first time she’d let it rip Connor thought she was coughing up a hairball.) He sees Tom Barlow come through the bar, half dragging Keith Dunn by his collar, and escorting him none too gently out the door.
We read about a guy so hot he is called “Smokin’McDamn”. How one character finds out he is not the “Special Snowflake” he thought he was. We read about “the Lying Liar of Lieville.” There is a hilarious account of a visit to a New Age Drum Circle
“Let’s think back to the heartbeat of the brave little frog who decided to be the first to venture out of the slime of the past and bravely leap onto the shores of today.” Her father snorted.)
Usually, it is Kristan’s heroines who go on a series of hilariously disastrous dates. This time, it’s Connor (“So. Would you rather burn to death, or be buried alive?”, One of his dates asks as an ice-breaker.)
He decides to take Jessica and Davey to a 4-H fair.
”How about some food?” she suggested. “Seems kind of insensitive, Connor murmured…’the barns, the barbecue pit. The cows must be doing head counts every fifteen minutes’.”
Of course, the inimitable Colleen tries to resolve the conflict and roadblocks between her twin brother and Jessica.
( “…so if you’re just gonna sit there and let him find someone else, well, I seriously misjudged you.” She popped the baby off her breast and switched sides. “Sorry about this, by the way. Now you’ve seen my boobs. Congratulations. So. Back to Connor. Go get him, Jess! I mean , what the hell?”)
Although she did have me wondering throughout most of the book how she was going to possibly achieve it, it won’t be a spoiler to say that everything turns out great in the end and an epilogue insures a happily ever after for everyone involved and even some who aren’t all that involved. **5 out of 5 stars**
I loved this one by KH. It has everything I have come to expect, which I won’t list here. Suffice it to say this has all of the humor and brief episodes of heartbreak that most of her books do. The character of Liam was very unusual as he was a hot bad boy, but with mental health issues which softened and made his character really interesting, 3 dimensional, and lovable. I do want to respond to the main complaint about this book, which is that some did not “feel the love” that Liam had for Posey. That he was too hung up on his first wife. His marriage was based on puppy love, love at first sight, which the longer they were married, the further apart they grew. Liam was not happy. His wife was not happy. The only thing they had in common was their child. That is made crystal clear. Liam’s love for Posey was a mature love. He needed her. She healed him. For those who mistake shallow gooiness for love, you will be disappointed in this book. No groveling, that some readers seem to yearn for. Just repentance, understanding, and forgiveness. If anything, Posey’s love for Liam was suspect, more like a crush, not the other way around.
Also, I must add that this book contains one of my Kristan Higgins favorite scenes which is Liam’s confrontation with his mother-in-law and father-in-law. Priceless. And Joe, the kitty. Tears, yes, but the way she brought it full circle in the end was wonderful. **5 stars out of 5**
I’m reading Kristan Higgins again, because there is no one better. Callie is probably the most adorable and likable Heroines KH has written. I loved that some people (including the hero, sometimes) thought that her sunny, people-pleasing personality was something she needed to fix. She is self aware enough that she knows she is the way she is due to her parents divorce when she was 8. But she likes the way she is, so screw it! I loved Ian, who is shy (almost asbergerish) and opposite in every way from Callie. Kristan really knows how to write interesting, non cardboard cut-out characters with real depth. She definitely has a stable of types and tropes that appear in all of her novels, but they are delightful every time, on the whole. Yes, yes, her signature “swear” words and interjections are too cutsie wootsie, but no one’s perfect. As always, a few tears, laugh out-loud scenes and descriptions, and stand up and cheer moments are present and accounted for. **5 out of 5 stars**