August 1, 2017

“Love, or a heart attack. Kind of the same thing.”


In June, I read my very first Kristan Higgins book. I absolutely loved it, which was great because 1) it's always exciting to find a new favorite and 2) I'd purchased a ton of her books at a used bookstore in March. I've talked about this before on my blog, but I've got a very bad habit of buying a bunch of books from an author that interests me... before I've even read anything they've written. That was the case with Kristan Higgins.

When I first started thinking about what to read for the July's Picky Pledge Reading Challenge prompt, "A Book You Bought Because of the Author," I planned on reading something from an author who'd proven themselves to be a favorite. I mean, if you're buying a book for the author, chances are good that it's because you love what they've written in the past. But then, I thought about the Gideon's Cove series. I had all three books on my shelves and didn't even remember reading the summaries when I bought them. I'd been drawn in based solely on the author! So, it fit the prompt - and would help me determine if Higgins was truly a new favorite.

I picked up the first book in the series, Catch of the Day, and was immediately hooked. Maggie Beaumont hasn't been lucky in love. Her first boyfriend broke up with her by bringing his new girlfriend home. And then there was her crush on a gorgeous newcomer to town... who turned out to be the parish's new priest. Maggie loves running a successful diner, but everyone knows she's looking for love. Even Father Tim gets in on the matchmaking! And Maggie just might find her perfect match where she least expects it...

This book was hilarious! Higgins definitely knows how to write humor and books that just make you so happy while reading them. Maggie is constantly getting herself into awkward and/or embarrassing situations, but I loved that she just took it all in stride. She had a bright personality and was easy to relate to! I appreciated that her desire for a significant other was relatable and important to her, but it didn't define her. She had a successful business, good friendships, an amazing dog and a place in her community. 

I loved her relationship with her twin sister and the fact that she was somewhat envious of her life but never let it come between them. There's some tension due to her relationship with her mother, and I felt like it added a lot to the story. The focus on family dynamics was something I noticed in my first Higgins, too, and became even more apparent as I continued reading this series. I love that Higgins' heroines don't exist in a vacuum - you get to meet all the people who make up their world. And they add so much character to the stories!

If I had one complaint about Catch of the Day, however, it's the romance. I'm all about the strong, silent type, but I did feel like the hero was just too taciturn. There's not a lot of relationship development because there was so little conversation! He does prove that actions speak louder than words because he's there for Maggie when she needs him most... but still. I So Liked It, but would have loved it with a bit more development here.

Regardless, I finished this one and immediately moved on to The Next Best Thing. Lucy Lang has known life-changing love and was devastated when she lost it. As a young widow, she still wants a family and a husband. Her cat, Fat Mikey, and the family bakery she runs with her mother and aunts just aren't enough anymore. She can't risk that kind of pain again, but it's time to get serious about moving on. She knows she has to end things with Ethan, her completely inappropriate "friend with benefits," but he thinks he's know what's best for her...

I'd talk a little about the relationship in this book, but I don't want to share the most significant details about it. You'll find out why pretty early on in the book, but I still think it's more enjoyable if you discover it while reading. So, I'll say this: I couldn't wait for Lucy to open her eyes to what was right in front of her. I understood all her reasons for hesitating: her love for her husband, her grief over his loss, her fear of it happening again, and her awareness that this person was all wrong for her on paper. She was a little more closed off and less relatable than Maggie, but I was way more invested in this romance. It was so satisfying!

Once again, Higgins just makes me happy! I adored the bakery that Lucy works in with her mother and aunts, The Black Widows. They were such delightful secondary characters, and they are another great example of how Higgins fleshes out her characters' families. Lucy's sister drove me crazy at times, although I understood where her fear and control issues were coming from. Lucy had a sweet relationship with her in laws, but I do have a bone to pick with them about how they treated someone else. Overall, however, I So Enjoyed It.

One of my very favorite things about the book was Lucy's best friend, Parker, and Parker's son Nicky... which brings me to Somebody to Love. I had no idea that Parker Welles was going to be the heroine, but I totally did a little happy dance when I saw her name in the summary! When I finished the second book, I wasn't sure what made it part of a "series" because it didn't seem to connect with Catch of the Day. It didn't have the same setting or any overlapping characters. Well, that question was solved with the third and final book in the series. 

Parker Welles grew up with anything money could buy... but it couldn't fix her relationship with her dad. He's a hotshot businessman who always made sure she was taken care of financially, if not emotionally. And then comes the day he loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme. As a single mom, Parker knows she's got to figure out her life - and fast. Her first step is to go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, and sell the only thing she now owns: a decrepit house in need of a lot of TLC. Her father's attorney, James Cahill, tags along and she's not happy about it. He may be handy with a toolbox, but the last thing she needs is a constant reminder of all the ways her father has let her down. But she's about to learn about all the ways life can surprise you.

I knew from The Next Best Thing that Parker wasn't your stereotypical "rich girl" character. And thank goodness! She may have come from a life of privilege, but she didn't act like she was better than everyone else. It's definitely an adjustment for her when her father loses all of their money, but I liked that Higgins focused more on the sense of betrayal she felt towards her father and on the grief for losing a home filled with so many important memories. Parker had a career as a bestselling author, so it wasn't like she just sat around shopping all day, and she wasn't opposed to doing the work it took to rebuild her life (and the house she'd inherited). 

The home renovation storyline was so much fun. There's nothing like a little manual labor to create some tension and fireworks! James was my favorite man in the series for so many reasons. I loved that we learned so much about his backstory, his family and his past run-ins with Parker. It was a nice flip for the guy to be the one pining over a girl who wasn't interested in him. And I couldn't wait until Parker stopped seeing him as her father's lackey and finally noticed all his good qualities. Major swoon!

You'll get to revisit Maggie, Malone, Lucy and Ethan in this book, so I definitely think you'll appreciate reading it last. You don't have to, but I think it's nice to see how this book ties the previous two stories together. This one was my favorite of the three, and I So Loved It, but I can't say enough good things about the series overall. I adore Higgins' writing, the balance of humor with heavier emotions, the delightful secondary characters and the completely charming settings. I have definitely found a new favorite author!
Release Date: October 2007; January 2010; April 2012 | Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 377 pages; 400 pages; 425 pages | Source & Format: Bought; Paperback

This was my seventh read for The Picky Pledge Reading Challenge that Alexa and I are doing in 2017! It's the perfect motivation to read books from my TBR and adds an extra dose of accountability, too. In addition to reading and reviewing one challenge book per month, we're answering three questions about each one!

1. How long has this book been on your TBR? 
I bought all three books in May of this year, so only two months. I'm failing at primarily reading books that have been on my TBR prior to this year, but at least I'm completing the challenge!

2. What other books have you read by this author? 
I've only read one other book by this author, On Second Thought, and I just read it in June. It was definitely a new favorite, which made me so excited to read this series.

3. Do you have any other books by this author on your TBR?
I do, and it's basically her entire backlist. She's a favorite now! But I only own If You Only Knew and her Blue Heron series, so those are my priority in the foreseeable future.

2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed the Blue Heron series by her recently! Those were my first. Adding this series to my list!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think I've ever read a Kristan Higgins novel, but you've definitely sold me on trying out this series after reading your thoughts on them. They sound so delightful!

    ReplyDelete

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