Monday, December 19, 2016

ARC Review: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

On Second Thought  From the blurb:

Ainsley O'Leary is so ready to get married—she's even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn't anticipate is for Eric to blindside her with a tactless breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half sister, Kate, who's already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband.

Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan's death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and sometimes the people who step up aren't the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended-family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one.

Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.

Heather's rating:

One time might be a fluke but two times? I'm in LOVE!

Kristan Higgins blew me away with another book set in the fictional New York town of Cambry-on-Hudson. I absolutely adored my first ever Kristan Higgins book, If You Only Knew, and this one was just as magical.

I have a little bit of trouble classifying the genre of these two recent Kristan Higgins books because they straddle the line between women's fiction and contemporary romance. Honestly, it doesn't matter what box you put them into because, bottom line, they take the best elements from both genres. We get the focus on family dynamics and two individual women's personal, introspective journeys from women's fiction, but we also get the heart-melting love-stories that I crave from romance. It shouldn't work so effortlessly and seamlessly, but it does. Kristan Higgins makes it look easy.

One of the main struggles of a romance author is to get the reader to buy into the romance. That's surprisingly hard to do, especially with "showing" instead of "telling." However, Kristan Higgins does it with not just one, but two characters in this book. Still, this book isn't simply about two people falling in love. It is MUCH more complex than that.

What I loved most about this story was how nothing is perfectly straightforward. There is pain and loss, there are conflicting and confusing emotions, and people are not who they seem at first. That is because these characters are real and flawed, especially the supporting characters, and that is what makes this book come to life. The former lovers and exes... you get them, even when you want to simply hate them. There are no evil villains or two-dimensional characters. I loved that.

There were also a few tropes that are weaknesses of mine, mainly the enemies-to-lovers trope. Gah, I love that one. I think a quiet, awkward man falling into love just does something to me. It reminded me a little of Pride and Prejudice, which is never a bad thing.

Also, I love a kooky grandma character. Gram gram was the best.

What impressed me even more about this story is that even when an author has great ideas, he or she still has to execute them. To make a book flow smoothly and be compulsively readable is extremely difficult. However, Kristan Higgins pulled that off too, and I couldn't put this book down for a minute.

This book is everything that I wanted First Comes Love by Emily Giffin to be but wasn't. It is a story about two sisters, a story about evolving families, a story about falling into and out of love, and a story about realizing that what you thought you wanted might not be what you needed. It is both heart-warming and heart-breaking while still maintaining its humor.

Honestly, it's a must-read.

*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Buy this book: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo

Catch ya later!

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