Wednesday, August 26, 2015

REVIEW - IF YOU ONLY KNEW #NewRelease by Kristan Higgins

Let me start out by saying that we romance authors are not supposed to review books that we buy and read for pleasure, so I won't be posting this on Amazon as I might normally...

Apparently, I'm not supposed to be a reader anymore, even if I still am and have been dying to read this book for ages. I was neither hired by Kristan Higgins nor her publisher to write this review, and I did NOT receive a free copy for my review. I preordered it and have been counting down the days eagerly until it popped onto my kindle on release day so I could read it.  I get nothing for writing this, I'm just doing it because...dagnabbit this is MY blog. I have an opinion. I should be allowed to share it!!

All disclaimers aside, I've BEEN a huge Kristan Higgins fan. I've never met her, which is good as she'll likely think me a speechless moron when/if that magical day ever comes. I'll probably just stand there and stare, mouth hanging slightly open like a mouth-breathing ape creature, and just say, "Dude. Dude. You're her. Dude." a lot.

*sigh* She made me ugly cry again. Like, blubbering in my office, until my son said, "Are you listening to me? Is it another book?"


Him, "Ugh, I'm going to school."
I loved this book. #truestory

if you only knew
Kristan Higgins

Buy Links
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Letting go of her ex-husband is harder than wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate expected…especially since his new wife wants to be Jenny's new best friend. Sensing this isn't exactly helping her achieve closure, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she'll start her own business and bask in her sister Rachel's picture-perfect family life…and maybe even find a little romance of her own with Leo, her downstairs neighbor, a guy who's utterly irresistible and annoyingly distant at the same time.

Rachel's idyllic marriage, however, is imploding after she discovers her husband sexting with a colleague. She always thought she'd walk away in this situation, but her triplet daughters have her reconsidering her stance on adultery, much to Jenny's surprise. Rachel points to their parents' perfect marriage as a shining example of patience and forgiveness; but to protect her sister, Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a family secret she's been keeping since childhood.

Both Rachel and Jenny will have to come to terms with the past and the present and find a way to get what they want most of all.

*** MY REVIEW ***
I thought I knew what this book would be about. Something simple and fluffy to get me through my day and remind me what is good about everything. I thought, well, I'm surely not going to identify with these characters...

As I mentioned, I ended up ugly crying, laughing, and otherwise falling madly in love with an Irishman, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.

This starts out a pretty cut and dry story--Jenny Tate is moving back home because she recognizes her relationship with her ex and his new wife isn't altogether natural or healthy for her. That she recognized this (having a similar relationship in my real life, I comprehend sometimes it takes many years for us to see what is unhealthy in our own lives) and is willing to try for a fresh start says a LOT about her character. She's special, a fighter, and is doing the brave thing. Even if she doesn't feel awfully brave in doing it...

She moves into a house with a grumpy and useless super...who is also the delicious Irishman I mentioned I fell for. He's a hoot! I'm not going to spoil his lines, because they're all brilliant, but I will say he was a huge high point in the story for me--which is good because it does have a lot of dark moments to pull it down.

While Jenny is doing all this, everyone is watching her sister live the perfect life. She's got a handsome and adoring husband, three beautiful triplets, and a lovely house--everything is perfect! But is it? One sext later and she's not so sure anymore.

So Jenny is on a journey to figure out what she really wants out of life while doing the same thing. From the other's perspective, each sister tends to think the other has life figured out. Jenny thinks Rachel is happy and beautiful and altogether did way better at life than she managed. Rachel thinks Jenny is sophisticated, brave and far more interesting than her dull, housewife self.

But really, they're like us (AND THAT, my darlings, is how Higgins always wins me on these books!) and flawed. Neither is perfect and neither makes all the right choices. They fumble, they second-guess themselves, and they sometimes just want to pull over and get out of the minivan full of screaming kids and bawl.

Okay, back to the delicious and irresistible downstairs super. He's also a redhot mess of a man, but I love, love, love, love this hero. Leo Killian (oh, even the name gives me shivers!) is handsome and brilliant and broken. I looked on Kristan Higgins facebook feed and I can't see that she posted who inspired this particular hero... but I'm thinking something like
Sam Heughan from Outlander. Someone dangerously handsome who isn't afraid to tell you he knows he's handsome. He isn't cocky, not exactly, more distanced. Anyway, it isn't how he looks that won me.

It is what he did for Evander James, his student. This man teaches piano and I admit I had to google the piece he plays in one scene. I let the music flow around me, eyes closed, and I imagined sitting in a small room of Julliard myself, hearing and watching a true maestro become one with the instrument. Being gifted can come in a lot of forms, and I think everyone really talented walks away from their gift at some point in their lives--because LIFE.

But, well, this quote:

"Evander needs to be filled up with music. Fill him up."

When you read the book, it will make sense, but I wept.

Higgins writes:

"Just living can be pretty terrifying. I don't know how you do it."

Yeah, that. I so get that. Don't we all??

The triplets were adorable. They made me get a little weepy at my no-longer-tiny kiddos. Hard to say I am waxing poetic about the days of projectile vomit, but I kind of am. Not to mention the gooey wonderfulness of baby Natalia. All of it globbed up to be a wonderful experience for me--a journey with two wonderful and yet believable heroines. They discover themselves, they discover each other, and they even discover their mom (the mending of years old hurt between Jenny and Lenore had me crying again)

To summarize, I'll quote Higgins again:

"But life isn't like that. There are only perfect, glowing moments, like this one, and then there are the everyday moments that weave them together into a shimmering path that can always be seen, even in the dark."

Yeah. That is why I loved this book. Because I didn't just read it, I live it. Everyday.

We all do. Higgins doesn't tell stories, she reminds us why it all matters. Loved that. Loved this book.

Highly, highly, highly recommend.

Happy reading!


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