October 29, 2015

Book Review: ANYTHING FOR YOU by Kristan Higgins

Book:  Anything for You
Author:  Kristan Higgins
Publisher:  HQN Books
Genre:  Contemporary Romance;  Fiction
Due Out:  December 29, 2015

Blurb from Goodreads:

Before you get down on bended knee, you should be pretty darn sure the answer will be yes. For ten years, Connor O'Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she's got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard—it's the perfect time to get married. 

When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. If it ain't broke, why fix it? Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who's now living with her full-time, and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have
 is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she's positive married life isn't for her. 

But this time, Connor says it's all or nothing. If she doesn't want to marry him, he'll find someone who does. Easier said than done, given that he's never loved anyone but her. And maybe Jessica isn't quite as sure as she thinks…

My Review:

The Blue Heron series by author Kristan Higgins is one I have been devouring many times over the past few years.  All the stories are well written, with very witty dialogues and extremely funny characters.   Two of them being the O’Rourke twins.  Much as I love the hilarious men and women who make up the town of Manningsport, there are none better than Colleen and Connor O’Rourke.  I have shared my opinion on Colleen’s love story (click my review here:  Waiting On You), now here is the story of her other half, Connor.

In previous books, Connor was always portrayed as someone stoic but very funny, loving yet sarcastic, hot (hubba hubba) and …uh…. Very good with his hands… because HE IS A CHEF guys! (Mind out of the gutter please hehehe).  Here we finally, FINALLY, get to see the other side of Connor, his patience, his kindness and his love for one woman and one woman alone, Jessica Dunn, the woman who has had his heart since he was 12 years old.

Connor is not complicated.  He is a hardworking bar owner and chef who wants to get married.  He has been seeing one woman for over a decade albeit secretly since the woman in question prefers it that way.  Connor wants to have a family because he truly and fully loves Jessica.  And while she has never uttered the words “I love you” to him, he has been the only man in her life for quite awhile. 

Jessica’s life is complicated.  Very complicated.  She practically raised herself and her brother since her alcoholic parents were less than useless.  She also has a reputation since High School that never quite disappeared….she is/was Jessica Does, as in Jessica does anyone who wants some.  Her life has changed for the better since getting her degree and working for the Holland family and their vineyard, and she has moved on and away from the trailer park, but a shadow has been cast and she believes she can’t be more than what she is.  She also has a big burden by the name of Davey, her mentally challenged brother who happens to HATE Connor with a passion because of an incident with a dog in their childhood.  So how can she plan a life with Connor when in her mind, there is nothing left to give him except for what they have occasionally?

One thing you’d have to understand about the Blue Heron series is that it does happen in a small town of Manningsport and as such, many lives, many characters are intertwined.  So the characters here in Anything for You are the same characters from the first four books which means a lot to readers like me because whenever I read a new Blue Heron book, I feel like I’m coming home and touching base with people who matter to me.  And yes, corny as it sounds, the O’Rourkes and the Hollands matter to me a lot and I need to see their happy endings.  So this book here is a gift.  If Connor had not been given a good one I would have been very pissed.  But as it is my entire face is smiling and I haven’t stopped rereading my copy since first receiving the ARC.  In fact, I went back to read ALL the 5 Blue Heron books the past few days just because I want to.  And Jessica.  Her character was always the aloof one ever since The Best Man (Blue Heron book #1) and I didn’t quite know if I liked her enough.  But Higgins has a way of making you LOVE her characters, even the most annoying ones, so here I was rooting for Jessica to end up with the perfect man, Connor.

To fully appreciate Connor (and his magical wit), you’d first have to know where he is coming from, and to do that you’d have to fall first for Colleen….which is why you have to read WAITING ON YOU before diving into this one.  Better yet, start from Book #1 for a better and clearer understanding of all these wonderful relationships and characters I am raving about.  Yes, I am Raving….I love this series.  In terms of romance and sense of humor, few can compare.  Higgins is an author who knows her audience well.  I am not yet ready to say goodbye to the good folks of Manningsport so hopefully there are a few more up her sleeve…..perhaps Ned and Sarah?  How about Charlie?  Heck, there’s always the next generation of the Hollands and O’Rourkes.  Do I hear a yes?

Please click the links for the reviews of the Blue Heron series:
The Best Man
The Perfect Match
In Your Dreams

October 18, 2015


Book:  The Libby Garrett Intervention
Author:  Kelly Oram
Publisher:  Bluefields
Genre:  Young Adult Fiction, Romance
Due Out:  October 24, 2015

Blurb from Goodreads:

Libby Garrett is addicted to Owen Jackson's hot lovin'. But the sexy, popular college basketball player doesn't appreciate all of Libby's awesomeness. He refuses to be exclusive or even admit to people that they're dating. The relationship is ruining Libby and she's the only one who can't see it. 

When Libby's behavior spirals completely out of control, her best friend Avery Shaw and the rest of the Science Squad stage an intervention hoping to cure Libby of her harmful Owen addiction. They put her through her very own Twelve Step program—Owen's Anonymous—and recruit the help of a sexy, broody, hard as nails coffee man to be her official sponsor.

Adam Koepp has watched Libby Garrett for years. How could he not notice the sassy girl with the purple skateboard and helmet plastered with cat stickers? But in all the years he's crushed on her, Libby has failed to take notice of him. Why would she when he was just a nobody high school drop out who served her apple cider several times a week? Especially when she was hooking up with a guy like Owen Jackson—a guy with a college scholarship and more abs than Kyle Hamilton.

Adam finally gets the chance to meet Libby when his co-worker Avery Shaw recruits him to take Libby on the journey of a lifetime. With his ability to play Bad Cop and his experience with the Twelve Step program he's the perfect candidate to be Libby's sponsor. But will he be able to keep his personal feelings out of the matter and really help her the way she needs? And will Libby hate him when he forces her to take an honest look at herself?
This follow-up companion novel to The Avery Shaw Experiment can be read as a stand alone. (But where's the fun in that?) ;)

My Review:

Going into this I had two things in minds.  One.  Kelly Oram is a good author judging by the tears I shed while reading her book Cinder and Ella. Two.  I have no idea who Libby Garrett is.  Based on the blurb, I knew that Libby is a character from Oram’s other popular book The Avery Shaw Experiment which I’ve never read so I was wondering if I should or could skip that and jump into Libby.

I’m glad I did.

The Libby Garrett Intervention is a stand alone book dealing with losing and finding oneself.  Libby is a not so typical teenage female protagonist.  She is overweight, nerdy and sarcastic (oh I love that trait the most.  All these make her so relatable to me personally because I am all these myself so 2 points for Libby).  The problem with Libby is that she is addicted to a living, breathing drug, Owen, a gorgeous jock who wants nothing more from her than hook ups.  Or as a character in the book says, Owen treats Libby "like a prostitute he doesn’t have to pay".

Enter Adam, otherwise known as the Coffee Man.  He is a close friend and co-worker of Libby’s best friend Avery.  A tattooed high school dropout with problems of his own.  He has always had a thing for Libby, so seeing her change from a confident and funny person to a desperate, I-can’t-NOT-have-sex-with-Owen is more than he can take.  One public indiscretion by Libby and Owen sends Adam to suggest staging an intervention for Libby.

A 12 step program is not exactly a good way to start a relationship, but it is a great way to end one and to make Libby see what she has become with Owen, and in the process, it helps Libby realize that she is not as unlovable as what she has believed herself to be.  Addiction though is tough to beat.  Will she keep going back to her personal version of crack (Owen)? Or move on to the person who can help her get her old self back?

One thing I love about Libby is her wisecracking ability.  She is smart as a whip and can dish it out like nothing else.  The character is LOL funny with a side of sexy.  Yes I said sexy.  She is beyond chubby (based on the description and the beautiful picture on the book cover) but she is pretty (Again based on the cover model and descriptions in the book).   The thing is, I understand perfectly her need to be the object of such adulation from a beautiful man and her need for acceptance.  After all, she grew up bullied for how she looked her entire life so having the attention of a popular jock is like a dream come true for her. 

I like how Oram settled the issue by NOT making Libby change physically.  She didn’t make Libby go on an exercise spree to lose weight, nor did she write the story as if being Fat is the reason for her problems.  In other words she didn’t resolve Libby’s dilemma with a miraculous “ugly duckling turned into a swan” angle.  Oram made sure the readers would understand that the problem here is WHAT Libby thinks of herself….and it’s not a lot.  Libby put so much stock on being unlovable because she looked a certain way, she overlooked the fact that she is beautiful in every other way.  Fat is just fat.  In the end, it is how we are as people and how we treat others that define us.  And Libby realizes that with the help of wonderful and supportive Adam.
Oram didn’t make Adam the typical gorgeous, Edward Cullen type of guy.  He is the anti thesis of a male protagonist: drop out, tattooed teenager, skinny and thinks himself a loser.  My heart immediately went out to him.  Adam gets Libby because he has been through the same nightmare of addiction albeit indirectly.  He is, in his own way, the perfect hero.  Libby’s hero.

This is a good read with a huge helping or sarcasm, wit and laughter.  If you’re up for a book that will make you want your own Coffee Man, if not just your own coffee, then read this.   Now excuse me while I go get a tall drink of Frapuccino.

Photo Credit: All photos were lifted from Goodreads.com and the author's Facebook account