Saturday, August 09, 2008

Review: Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

One of the books I was looking forward to in August is this release by Kristan Higgins. I was first attracted to Ms Higgins books because she has very cute book cover LOL :) and really enjoyed Fools Rush In. So I was really looking forward to this book, especially since I like the tomboy storyline :)

Dear Author has posted a very good review for Just One of the Guys, very well written... and I probably can't write one as good, but I just wanted to add my two cents :) So here it is.

Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
published by HQN books in August 2008

Being one of the guys isn't all it's cracked up to be…

So when journalist Chastity O'Neill returns to her hometown, she decides it's time to start working on some of those feminine wiles. Two tiny problems: #1—she's five feet eleven inches of rock-solid girl power, and #2—she's cursed with four alpha male older brothers.While doing a story on local heroes, she meets a hunky doctor and things start to look up. Now there's only one problem: Trevor Meade, her first love and the one man she's never quite gotten over—although he seems to have gotten over her just fine.Yet the more time she spends with Dr. Perfect, the better Trevor looks. But even with the in-your-face competition, the irresistible Trevor just can't seem to see Chastity as anything more than just one of the guys...

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: Chastity was raised in a male-dominated family with her father, 4 brothers and 1 honorary brother, all working as firefighters, paramedics and the likes. With such a family, she can't help being a tomboy, i.e. loud, competitive and strong, just as she can't change her tall, Amazonian physic strengthened by her hobby, rowing. After having work in the city, Chastity is coming back to her hometown to settle down.

Along with her mother who has divorced Chastity's father one year ago and has decreed she was ready to date, Chastity starts her search for the perfect man... and she finds him. Unfortunately, Chastity can't forget her first love, the man she'll never get - Trevor Meade, one of her best friends and honorary brother...

My Opinion: First, the heroine's full name is Chastity Virginia O'Neill, LOL :) Ouch, but I can't help but chuckle, LOL :) All right, so that's out of the way... what about the actual characters and storyline? I really, really enjoyed this book. I really like the O'Neill clan and the relationships.

Chastity isn't as tomboyish as we are led to believe in the synopsis. True, she doesn't have a fragile, small physic and her attitude can be tomboyish at times, but between her ears and personality-wise, she is feminine and doesn't think of herself as a guy... What I liked about Chastity is her confidence. She never thought one second that she was unattractive (well except when her boyfriend dumps her, but that's understandable) and she's independent and strong in her opinions. I really like how assured of herself she is and never doubts her abilities. The fact that she's not lost and know what she wants and where she is going in her life is also refreshing :)

The whole book focuses on Chastity, her relationships and her journey. It was enjoyable and not at all predictable. The dynamics of the family are quite entertaining, especially with divorced parents and her mother starting to date again. There was a nice balance between the focus of the book, Chastity, and the apparition of her family. As expected, with 4 brothers, Chastity has a large family; but I thought Ms Higgins handled it well. The family doesn't overshadow Chastity, but at the same time, is not forgotten. There's also quite a cast of secondary characters such as Chastity's co-workers, but Ms Higgins never get side-tracked and characters introduced seemed to be justified.

I also really liked Chastity's honesty in her feelings. Yes, she is looking for the perfect man and she found him... and she tried really hard to build a life with him, but at the same time, she can't forget Trevor. Personally, I would have like to read more about Trevor, go deeper in his characterization and his thoughts while Chastity was looking and dating Mr. Perfect. I think it would have been very interesting and added a bit more to the book; however, the book is writing from Chastity's point of view. Nonetheless, we get some very emotional scenes from Trevor, so I'll have to be satisfied with that.

*Spoilers ahead*

My favorite scenes of the book have to be the ones which were critical to Chastity and Trevor relationship. I really liked the scene where Chastity confronts Trevor about his feelings and how he doesn't dare be with her because he fears losing his family... Trevor replies that it's her he is afraid to lose. Very emotional... unfortunately, Trevor is a bit stupid in my opinion. At this point, after two one-night stands, you can't say to your childhood/best friend that you want to forget what happened and remain friends... especially when you know she loves you. Trevor was afriad to lose her, but as soon as he rejected her again, he lost her anyway. In my opinion, since both loved each other, he should have given the relationship a try because their relationship would never had gone back to what it was before.

My heart broke for Chastity when she announced her engagement with Mr. Perfect and Elaina, Chastity's best friend and sister-in-law, asks Chastity if she's sure and if she told Trevor yet.

"Don't mess this up, querida. Get over Trevor, querida."

"Okay! Yes, so I said that!" she (Elaina) snaps. "Big deal, you know? Chas, are you happy?"

"Yes!" I insist. "I - definitively!" My jaws clenched. "Elaina," I say, and my voice is now a harsh whisper. "This is the best I'm going to do. He's a good guy. We'll be very content together. He loves me. I love him. Okay? Please don't say anything else."

"Okay," she says. She starts to say something, then pauses.

"What, Lainey?" I ask. My head is killing me, and we haven't had dinner, and I'm starving and just want to go home and curl up with Buttercup.

"Have you told Trevor?" she whispers.

"He knows," I say, turning away. I pretend to fix my hair in the mirror, but I can see Elaina's worried eyes reflected back at me.

"What did he say?" she asks.

"He's all for it." I turn back to look directly in her face. "I told him I loved him and he said to stay with Ryan." My face contorts.

"Shit," she says. "Okay, okay, I'm sorry, honey. It's okay."

Who wouldn't hurt for Chas after this scene? What is she to do? Live the rest of her life lonely? I have to say though, I'm really glad at the happy ending and I'm happy Trevor learned from other's mistake.

*End of spoilers*

My only complaint about this book is the same as with Fools Rush In. It's hard to say whether this book is really straight contemporary romance or more chick-lit. The feeling for chick-lit is very strong and personally, I would have preferred for it to be romance-y. However, after reading 3 books by this author, I have to come to the conclusion that this is Ms Higgins style and I should get used to it :)

My Grade: B+. This book is very good and people should give it a try :) You'll understand why Ms Higgins is a RITA winner :)


  1. This one sounds good. I am going to add it to the list. I am so superficial, because when I looked at the cover, I just passed right by it because it had a chick lit feel to the cover. What is ironic about that is I actually like chick lit. You know I didn't even read Jane's review although, I did take note that she gave it an A-. Maybe I will go back and read it now :)

  2. Jill - This book has a bit of a chick lit feel, where the book is very focused on the heroine and what she goes through in life and gets with the hero very late in the book. However, it's also very good and I think that you should give it a try, especially if you enjoy chick lit :)

  3. Ahhh! *covers eyes and scrolls real fast past the spoiler* :P

    I just added this one to my to buy list, it sounds great! I've been looking for a good chick lit-ish book to pick up. :)

  4. Samantha - I really hope you enjoy it!! :D