Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

Nothing much going on with me. Days are getting colder and darker much earlier - thanks to daylight saving hours. I'm not really happy that it's dark when I get out of work, but I have to admit, waking up is not as difficult :P Boss is gone and so work is a bit more relaxed. I mean, it's busy, but at least, I do things on my own time.

Still haven't gotten my hands on Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb. It's annoying :( I'm debating whether to buy it in e-format or not... and in the end, I voted against it because I have the whole collection in print already. However, I'm thinking of buying new author Kieran Kramer's debut novel, When Harry Met Molly, in e-format... I don't have any of her books in print yet and well, I should start buying more ebooks no? Anyway, I should take a decision soon because  I have a bad case of "I don't know what to read" syndrome and I feel like reading those books. Seriously, I have a room full of books, but it's the books that I don't have that calls to me ^_^; By the way, any good books you've read recently? Chapters/Indigo is having a 25% off promotion this week-end... but I have nothing on my TBB list ^_^;

Now, the review. I'm trying to catch up on my reviews, but the list just keeps getting longer and longer. I don't know how some of you can review everything you read. Seriously, amazing. Today's review is All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins :)

All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
published by HQN Books in July 2010
One Happily-Ever-After Rocking Chair...

and no sign of any forthcoming babies to rock in ol' Georgebury, Vermont. For Callie Grey, turning thirty means coming to grips with the fact that her boss (and five-week fling) is way overdue in his marriage proposal. And way off track because Mark has suddenly announced his engagement to the company's new Miss Perfect. If that isn't bad enough, her mom decides to throw her a three-oh birthday bash in the family funeral home.

Bad goes to worse when she stirs up a crazy relationship with the town's not so warm and fuzzy veterinarian, Ian McFarland, in order to flag Mark's attention. So Ian is more comfortable with animals... So he's formal, orderly and just a bit tense. The ever-friendly, fun-loving and spontaneous Callie decides it's time for Ian to get a personality makeover. But dang, if he doesn't shock the heck out of her, she might actually fall for Vermont's unlikeliest eligible bachelor...
Genre: contemporary romance/chick-lit
Series: none

The Story: I thought the back blurb was a bit misleading, as in Callie's boss, Mark, did not cheat on her which is a good thing :P

Callie Grey has been in love with her boss, Mark Rousseau, ever since she was a teen. She's come back to Georgebury after college and was ecstatic to find a position in his company. For the past few years, she's been waiting for him to notice her and when during a business trip, Mark and Callie become an item, Callie is over the moon, figuring her dreams are about to come true. Unfortunately, after 5 weeks, Mark tells her he needs some space, that he's not ready to commit yet.... and so Callie waits for Mark to be ready. But it all comes to a stop when Mark announces his engagement to the daughter of one of their most important client and that his new fiancée will now be working with them.

Suddenly brought back to reality, Callie takes a good look at her life and her dysfunctional family. She's determined not to end up like her parents (her father cheated on his mother while she was pregnant with her younger brother and her mother still makes him pay, despite the divorce) or her older sister (so scarred by their parents divorce that she's never commit to a man and has decided to be a single mother - adopted two beautiful daughters - and helps women get pregnant without the need of men; she's a fertility doctor) and so decides to take matter into her own hands. However, meeting sensible, eligible bachelors in Georgebury is not easy and how is it that Ian McFarland, the new and very disagreeable veterinarian, is always there to witness her humiliations?

My Opinion: All right, so let's get the biggest issue out of the way first, shall we? I've read all of Ms Higgins' books and reviewed most of them. For the most part, I've enjoyed her books a lot. I like her heroines because they're fun and her heroes because they're yummy :P I do think that her books read more like chick-lit than contemporary romance, but that seems to be Ms Higgins' style and it's something that  you get used to. Sure, I'd wish her books would be more contemporary romance, but it's the way Ms Higgins writes and it seems to work for her... and so, All I Ever Wanted follows the same trend. The problem though is that after 5 books, they are all starting to blend into one another. Ms Higgins has a very distinctive narrative voice that sets her apart from other authors, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, it's the same voice for all of her heroines - which is less good ^_^; Also, all of her books are about women wanting to start a family and thus, finding the significant other. Setting changes, background changes, profession changes... but the basic story doesn't... Setting, background and profession are really important, but ultimately, they don't make the book in my opinion... usually, it's the H/H that does and when they all seem to be the same... it bodes badly for the future. I do feel like Ms Higgins has been trying to mix things up, but the impact wasn't big enough to shake off the similarities to the previous books. It'd be good if Ms Higgins would go big for her next book... Okay, so that's the ongoing complaints I have with Ms Higgins books. Don't get me wrong, I like her books and enjoy them... I'm just not sure how long my enjoyment will continue :(

Hmmm, it seems I started my review with what should be my closing paragraph LOL. Anyway, back to All I Ever Wanted :) I enjoyed the book and personally, I liked it better than The Next Best Thing. I think the main reason was because Callie and the story were just more cheerful. I really enjoyed Callie's joie de vivre and her honesty when it came to her feelings. At first, I was a little put-off by the fact that she was still expecting Mark to come back to her after their five weeks fling. I felt like she was deluding herself and making up nice stories in her mind. There's nothing wrong with dreaming, but you can't treat those dreams as reality. Luckily, Callie didn't clung to those disillusions... and it was more about the crush of a young girl coming true. I like that Callie didn't crumble and she set out to meet the right guy.

Our hero, Ian, was the complete opposite of Callie. He's reserved, not very effusive with his feelings and at times, actually has difficulty to communicate them. As a hero, I thought he was okay. I like the silent type, but he wasn't as likable as Ms Roberts' grumpy heroes. While not as likable, I can't help but think he's a good guy, an admirable one. He knows when he needs help and when to ask for it and what he did for his ex. I have the feeling that he is very loyal to people who he comes to know. The romance between Callie and Ian was okay. It wasn't exactly the "happy-go-lucky heroine thawing out stuff hero" theme that I usually enjoy so much. More something to do with proximity. I think the relationship developed naturally, but I felt it wasn't romantic enough. I liked the fact that the grand gesture at the end came from Callie instead :P

What I did enjoy a lot in this book was Callie's interactions with her family and what a family she has :P LOL and the family business was just a nice touch - a funeral home. I really like the relationship between Callie and her grandfather - I like grumpy old man. I felt so bad for Callie's father... yes, he did a mistake, but to keep paying for it for years and years... I'm not trying to excuse his cheating. There should never be excuses for cheating, seriously... However, it can be forgiven. Perhaps if he had explained what has pushed him earlier... I'm glad that in the end, he exploded and let it all out. Callie's mother and sister, I liked less... but it was nice to see them all interact with each other.

My Grade: B. Not my favorite book by Ms Higgins, but one that I found enjoyable and fun just like its cover :)


  1. My idea of Higgins after reading Just One of the Guys is that she writes chick-lit, not romance. I remember enjoying the fun, family style and there were hilarious moments. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the romance and haven't picked up any of her other books.

    It seems as if you enjoyed those same things in this book, the family interactions. Interesting. :)

  2. Hi Nath
    Yes I hate that it's dark now. I can't read in the car on the way home till the end of December. I actually have time to fight over radio stations with hubby LOL.

    I was excited about the big discount at Chapters but they don't have any of the ones I want in stock - only on-line.

    I've been meaning to ask you if you like & recommend the KOBO. Is it backlit so I can read in the car? Hubby doesn't like the book lights in the car if they are too instrusive.

    I got The Next Best Thing by Higgins in the book bag we got at Lori Foster's event. Now that Lisa Kleypas has cured me of hating first person POV, I'm going to give it a try soon.

    Take care Nath

  3. I have heard great things about this book!! Thanks for the lovely review!!

  4. I hope you’re able to get Indulgence this weekend. That’s weird that you haven’t been able to get a hold of it yet.

    I’ve read a couple of Ms. Higgins, enjoyed them at the time but can’t say they were memorable.

    The family sounds really screwy and why after only 5 weeks would she expect the guy to commit? That seems awfully quick. I think I'll pass on this one for now. I still have at least one of her earlier ones that I haven’t read.

  5. I just finished reading this very same book a few days ago! I agree with just about every single sentence you wrote, too!

    BUT.... I have to say, although Higgins' story lines and heroines and heroes for that matter... are very similar, the author does have a fun, natural and very sweet style. Her stories always make me laugh, cry sad tears, get nervous, get excited, cry happy tears, sigh and then make me feel so happy to be in love with my husband. That sounds so corny but it's so true! They're feel good stories and they work for me every six months or so. I always look forward to the next Higgins book and I always zip through them and close the book feeling happy.

    ... I should say all this in my own review... LOL!

    I LOVE the way Callie made the grand gesture at the end, too. It helped solidify to me that she was a stronger and more clear headed about herself and her life than she was at the beginning.

    Great review.

  6. This one made me laugh and cry and I just loved it. I really like her books. They're simple and fun and feel good books.

  7. Hilcia - Yeah, I guess it would be more chick-lit... but there's something in my opinion that sets her apart from other chick-lit authors. I think it's the heroine... yes, she's searching herself emotion-wise, but never job-wise. Like her heroines are more stable than other heroines in chick-lit. That's why in my opinion, it's not complete chick-lit. Close, but not exactly.

    Mary - LOL, Mary. Indeed, it's too dark to read ^_^; I try sometimes, but it's really hard as I also drive, LOL.

    Awww, that's too bad they don't have the books you want. I didn't have much either because I usually buy books as they come out ^_^; Still LOL.

    The Kobo isn't backlit, so unfortunately, you can't read it in the dark. They have come out with a book light, you should take a look at it. It's not very strong - I don't know if it's because of the screen of the Kobo. Personally, I like the Kobo, but I have very little experience with e-readers. What I wanted was something very similar to a book, I didn't care about the bells and whistle and that's what I got :P

    Hope you enjoy The Next Best Thing! :P

    Lover of Romance - Welcome! :P Hope you enjoy it and the author.

    Leslie - I got it! Found it at Walmart and actually, some of the bookstores received it yesterday. It's good then. I don't know what the delay is, but I'm thinking it's negotiation time between the publishing house and the bookstores chain and publishing house is pressuring the bookstore. That's my theory LOL.

    They're not very memorable, but they're fun and different from what's out there :P That's what I like about it.

    I don't think she really expected him to propose after 5 weeks, but she was hoping they only took a break. That he'd come back to her when he'd feel ready... not that he would get engage to someone else!

    and LOL, yes, the family was screwy ^_^;

    Christine - Woohoo, I'm so glad that you agree with my review, Christine! Especially since we had really different opinion of The Next Best Thing! Phew, I feel better.

    True, true about the author's style. Perhaps it's because I don't have a significant other, so I don't feel as deeply as you. I mean, I enjoy the books, but I can't help just thinking it's too similar.

    It was very nice that Callie did the grand gesture... but at the same time, it's natural... because she had the big decision to make.

    Tracy - Glad you enjoyed it, Tracy!! :) Yes, fun and feel good. Although, some are better than others :P