Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ugly Crying Because Higgins ~ A #review of #newrelease In Your Dreams

I preorder every new book by Kristan Higgins which, for a single mama and college student (omg the cost of books) is saying a lot. MOST books? I wait for some reviewers to have at them, just to be sure I really, really, really want to buy the book (otherwise, I'd own ALL the books and be gnawing on the dog for sustenance.) Not Higgins. Preordered this one the MOMENT it became available and, spoiler alert? I don't regret it.

She's yet to make me regret that easy one-click-preorder option Amazon so nicely offers.

Her newest release, In Your Dreams, is yet another tale in the Blue Heron series and focuses on brother Jack--the perfect one. On one hand, how can she fail to make me love Jack? Everyone loves Jack, even the other characters. Former military, a hunk, a family man, the perfect brother and son, the perfect uncle, a winemaker, hot, knows he's hot and uses his powers of hotness for good and not evil (he's EVERYONE's loaner date guy. Have a wedding and don't want to go alone? Call Jack. Have a reunion and need a guy so your former classmates don't know it is just you and your cat? Bingo, call Jack.) and all of that besides being part of the Holland family who readers have grown to love as this series progressed.

On the other hand? Uh, he's too perfect. Way too perfect. Of course it will be easy to love him? What on earth is there NOT to love?

Lots, apparently, because Jack is suffering from some very well deserved PTSD, and his ex-wife (enter Southern Belle Barbie) who is back in town and, well, all that perfect. (Yes, I said he was suffering from the ex-wife and being perfect--that wasn't a misplaced word. These are things to be endured, not perks, promise.)

Because what woman can believe she deserves all that is Jack Holland and can keep him too?

Not Emmaline Neal, local cop and hockey player. She's quite sure, from page one practically, that he's not for her.

I've said this before, yet it bears repeating...each time I read the description of one of Higgins' heroines, I think to myself, "Yeah, she and I have nothing in common." Me? Well, I have a really decent case of writer's butt. I have rainbow-bright hair and three kids. I live in a barn with some poisonous frogs, loud and boisterous teenagers, a rescued dog and some no-longer-stray cats and otherwise...

It just doesn't seem likely that I'd find much common ground with an outgoing cop who likes sports and (shuddering) running. On purpose. Like, even if she's not being chased by zombies. Shoot, I don't think that even zombies would make me run...I'd probably meander quickly, figuring it was my fate if one bit me, and hope someone else tripped or something. Running? For fun?

Not in my vocab, sorry.

But Emmaline shared that magical trait that Higgins' heroines all do. I love her. I adored her. I sympathized her and ended the book really bummed that I couldn't call her up so we could hang out. She's flawed. She's strong. She's been hurt and isn't letting it cripple her.

Plus, uh, did I mention Jack is hot? Because yeeeowza.

He cooks, by the way, as if all his earlier traits weren't sufficient to make him hero material. And offers cake as foreplay. I gotta be honest, if he'd been ugly and mean? The cake offering as foreplay might have won me over. I'm easy like that. Also, uh, I like cake. We mentioned writer's butt already, right?

Eh, but I digress.

Without giving away spoilers, I'll say that Emmaline was once in love with a guy who wasn't perfect, but he was hers. He even proposed, planned the wedding...all that. But then he left her for his trainer and since then? Emmaline has been a little gunshy. Well, not gunshy. In typically Higgins fashion, we started the book with one of those unforgettable first sentences, to be honest.

Nothing kicked off Emmaline Neal's weekend like using a Taser.
-Kristan Higgins, In Your Dreams

So when the ex invites her to the wedding in SoCal (to be attended by her parents, her sibling, and a whole slew of folks from her past, Emmaline tries for a date so that, at the very least, the People magazine article which dubbed her the unsupportive ex will be somewhat ignored due to her not being the cast-off badguy.

 Jack? Well, he's got that PTSD I mentioned and no one local either recognizes or seems willing to stop triggering it with their attempts at helping him. He's also got Southern Belle Barbie back in town...and all in all, the offer to fly off to parts unknown and escape winter and the real world? She's kind of doing him a favor. 

Once at the wedding, nothing goes as planned. Even if there wasn't much of a plan to begin with, but still it manages to veer right into the land of hilarity and misadventure. I laughed with these characters. When they got back to town and things continued to spiral out of control? I ached for these characters.

By the end of the book? I cried with these characters. Ugly tears. My kids can now tell simply by the bouts of unrestrained laughter followed by sobs that I'm reading a new Higgins book (or rereading an old one. Both kind of have the same reaction from me, though from the kids I'm never quite as bad with rereading them as I am when I get my greedy fingers on a new one.)

I wanted to hang out with Em, maybe join the Bitter Betrayeds, and then give Angela a hug for being such a great sister.

I wanted my very own Jack, flaws and all, and I only have one complaint. That it ended and I find myself yet again in the gap between Kristen Higgins books. 

( Dear Santa--All I want for Christmas is more Higgins books. I won't lie and tell you I've been a good girl, but...JACK ON THE KITCHEN TABLE. Just sayin. )

Highly recommend. Full of hilarity, poignant bits, and the amazing identifiable nature of the characters I've come to expect from this author.

Now, back to nursing my book hangover...

Note: I did not receive this copy from the author or publisher in return for an honest review. I just bought it because I'm an addict and I cannot resist stuff by this author.


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