Saturday, February 18, 2012

WEM II: My One and Only by Kristan Higgins and Destiny by Carly Phillips

Yay, second edition of the Week-End's Minis! :) So far, so good! Thank you for everyone who voted!! I was a bit nervous at first, especially since after 8 votes, 4 books were tied!! LOL. When I started the Week-Ends' Minis, I was thinking I'd aim for one to two mini-reviews by post... but 4? That's a bit too much!! In the end, My One and Only by Kristan Higgins and Destiny by Carly Phillips prevailed :)

My reviews are still a bit long for minis, but if I compared them with my review of She Tempts the Duke from yesterday, they are shorter! So it seems to work... and best of all, I'm enjoying this format of reviewing. Guess I'll be sticking with it :)

Enjoy!! And don't forget to vote for the next poll!!

My One and Only by Kristan Higgins
published by HQN Books (Harlequin) in March 2011
Just when she thought she had life and love all figured out…

Divorce attorney Harper James can’t catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she’s being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fianc√© back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.

Harper can’t help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick’s eyes, Harper’s always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None

What do you need to know about the storyline? Harper suffers from mother abandonment issues and it pretty much shaped her whole life. She married Nick out of college and they didn't last a year. She's now a successful divorce attorney with a steady boyfriend and is ready to move their relationship to the next level, given that he'll fix some few quirks. Then she gets news that her younger stepsister is walking down the aisle... for a third time. Last thing she expects is for the groom to be Nick's younger half-brother. So Harper and Nick are thrown together which is uncomfortable enough. And somehow, the two of them are stuck together on an impromptu roadtrip... and it's clear Nick still has issues with how things ended.

Why this book? I'm a fan of Ms Higgins. I really enjoy her books and I heard this one was different because the heroine was a bit more cynical and jaded. Definitively did not want to miss it :)

So, my thoughts? I liked that My One and Only was different than Ms Higgins' other novels. Yes, the heroine was more jaded and cynical and it definitively had repercussions on the storyline. There were less funny situations and more serious undertones and overall, it was a very nice change :)

I thought My One and Only started out very slow. It was all about setting up the characters and relationships, then you had the wedding, etc. I have to say, I didn't care much about that part of the book and it's unfortunate it was 1/3 of the book ^_^; My favorite part of the book was the road-trip. I liked that Nick and Harper were stuck together in the car and didn't have a choice to communicate and eventually, work things out. I liked that they were doing something they had planned when they were married :) Other things that I liked was the characters - Nick and Harper and the fact that Harper faced the truth about her mother and resolved her abandonment issues and finally realized who was there for her, who her real mother - the one that cared - was.

While I liked Nick and Harper, I'm not sure that together, they really worked ^_^; I definitively thought it was romantic that Nick has always believed that Harper was the woman of his life. Which woman doesn't want to hear that? At the same time, it was annoying to see that he hasn't let go. That he was still clinging to what happened and still blamed Harper. Harper definitively had responsibilities in how the marriage ended and I agree with Nick that she never had faith in their marriage, never believed that they would make it and at the first sign of trouble, she ran out... but Nick wasn't blameless. She was unhappy and he brushed it off with the excuses that he was building their future. There is no future if there is no present. Also, I felt that Nick pressured Harper into the marriage. She accepted his proposal because she was worried she'd lose him... I don't think Nick was unaware of her doubts and should have given her more time. And then, despite everything that had happened in the past, his resentment, Nick is ready to jump right back in, pick up where they left without any thoughts? It just seemed off to me. Although at the end, I'm happy Harper was the one to do the grand gesture :)

My Grade? C+.  There was a lot to enjoy about this book and I liked that Ms Higgins finally broke the mold. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the romance in this one.

Destiny by Carly Phillips
published by Berkley in January 2012

Nash Barron may be cynical about love, yet even he likes a good wedding. But the only good thing about his brother’s wedding is Kelly Moss. Nash can’t help but admire her confidence and beauty, but he’s forced to keep his distance because getting involved with Kelly could destroy his relationship with his newly discovered half sister, Tess... And Kelly has other reasons for keeping her distance--like the secret she knows Nash will never forgive.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Serendipity series, Book #2

What do you need to know about the storyline? I felt Destiny was less about the obstacles in Nash and Kelly's romance and had everything to do with Nash coming to terms with his anger at his older brother, Ethan. After their parents' deaths in an accident, Ethan was overcome by guilt and abandoned Nash and Dare. As a result, they ended up in foster care... but the worst part was they were separated and Nash ended up in a privileged environment while Dare did not. In addition, he has to compose with his new teenage half-sister Tess, from his father's affair, who doesn't like him much... and he doesn't think hooking up with Tessa's half-sister, Kelly, from her mom's side will endear him to her.

Why this book? I was looking for a good contemporary romance and saw on Goodreads that Holly enjoyed this one.

So, my thoughts? I think the writing was good and I really liked Nash's character. He was basically a really good guy with issues and those were understandable. You cannot blame him being angry with Ethan, because ultimately, Ethan's desertion placed him in a really tough spot. Being taken by a rich couple, but seeing your brother suffer poverty... Not understanding why the couple who's taken you in had such wealth and couldn't take in another boy... There was guilt, resentment, love and gratefulness and Nash had to deal with all those contradictory feelings as best as he could. Then, there's his ex-wife who is Nash best friend and divorced him when her MS got worst because Nash stifled her, but for whom Nash still really cares about. He's hurt by the divorce, but still there to help her out. I think Nash's character had a lot of depth and that made him really interesting. Unfortunately, at times, it also seemed a bit too much of "me, me, me" and I think in that sense, Destiny wasn't very well-balanced. It's almost as if the first half was all about Nash and the second half, Kelly... and Kelly's troubles with her ex-boyfriend wasn't as interesting.

The romance was just okay for me. Overall, my problem is that they fell into bed too quickly to my tastes. I liked that they didn't let the situation concerning Tess hamper their attraction. At the same time, I felt besides physical attraction, they didn't really know each other enough. Also, I'm surprised after her previous relationship, Kelly would go to bed with Nash without having a clearer idea of the future. I just didn't know what these two were looking for. Sex? A meaningful relationship? Let just takes the first step and see where it leads us? I wished they had dated a little, got to know each other a bit better instead of basing the whole relationship on physical attraction.

Finally, two last things that bothered me about this book. The first is Kelly working as a paralegal for Nash's ex-father-in-law and also the lawyer who handled Nash and Dare's foster care situation. Yes, the paperwork that Kelly found involved Nash, but wasn't it a tad unethical to show it to him? The question was raised, but also brushed off too quickly to my tastes. Had it been another guy in Nash's shoes, not dating Kelly, would she have shown him the papers? I'll venture no. The other element didn't really bother me per se, but I thought it was superfluous, was the whole storyline involving Nash's ex-wife. I think Nash had enough issues without an ex-wife and her new romance.

My Grade? C. I simply never really got hooked by Destiny and I think it's more me than the book.


  1. Aww, I'm sad both books turned out a bit so-so.
    I haven't read Destiny but I did read My One and Only and I don't think Harper and Nick worked well together, as they in fact kept rushing toward making the same mistakes that broke them apart.

  2. Love the mini-reviews! It stinks that both books weren't all that great, but I enjoyed hearing about the Kristin Higgins book. That was one of hers that I was on the fence about eventually reading. I'm not really into novels where the hero and heroine are divorced but get back together. I think I'll be avoiding that one.

  3. Alex - I agree with you, Alex. I thought they were both rushing into the relationship. They did discuss things and work it out some... but was it resolved? I don't think so. I think I wished Ms Higgins had developed it more. Ah well :(

    Samantha - Thanks! I'm glad people are enjoying the mini-reviews!! And writing them out is also working out for me :)

    I think Ms Higgins should have worked in the relationship between Nick and Harper earlier in my opinion. There was too much setting up in the beginning and also, as usual, family members have a lot of "screen" time. I think it would have made the book better.

    If you don't like divorced couple getting back together theme, I think you should skip this one. There are better ones out there in my opinion.

  4. Yay to another week of mini-reviews!! Judging by the results and how many votes are in for next week, I think we're all clamoring for contemporary reviews. Which is good.

    Sorry that both books were so-so. I had no interest in the Carly Phillips books but I do like Kristan Higgins so that's a disappointment. She's really hit or miss with me.

  5. Nath, is the Kristen Higgins book from the heroines POV? Or is it written in 3rd person? Just curious. I'm not fond of her 1st POV style, but if she changes that, I might give her books a shot again. *g*

    RE: Destiny. To answer your question, it is HIGHLY unethical for a paralegal to show ANY paperwork related to a client to someone who is not a client of the firm. The paralegal in question can really hurt the attorney by doing something like that... :(

    I like Carly Phillips but have not read this series yet. I'm keeping my eye on it for a book that catches my eye. :) Love your minis!

  6. Ames - LOL, seems like it, Ames :) I don't mind. As long as I get these written, I'm happy :)

    I don't know, you might enjoy this one, Ames. I think for the heroine. Ms Higgins is hit and miss for me as well, but when she's a hit, she's great :)

    Hilcia - This one is from the heroine POV, Hils. The only book at the 3rd POV is Until There Was You, her latest release. I hope she'll keep writing 3rd POV :) You should read that one :)

    Yeah, I thought it was unethical too... But here are some more details... In this case, Nash is the attorney, replacing the attorney Kelly is working for because he had a bypass surgery. So is it still unethical?

  7. I have yet to read Destiny but it's in my TBR pile. I didn't really care for the Higgins though, I wanted to but both the hero and the heroine got on my hot damn nerves.

  8. Rowena - I hope you enjoy Destiny, Rowena :)

    I was glad Ms Higgins tried something different :) Just too bad it didn't really work out :(

  9. Sorry you didn't like My One and Only more, but I have to agree with a lot of what you said. I appreciated a more jaded heroine for a change of stereotype from Ms. Higgins, but I never really warmed up to her. And then when we finally found out the details of their divorce I thought, "What?!" I just couldn't see that really happening and than boom!--They're divorced! --without confrontation or discussion, you know? I don't remember what I rated this one, but yeah.. it deserves three stars on goodreads. I prob gave it four. Don't go look.. I'll be super embarrassed if I gave it five. No seriously. Don't look. lol

  10. Christine - I wouldn't mind for Ms Higgins to try again with a more jaded heroine you know :) Just to mix it up. Unfortunately, Harper just didn't work out.

    I know what you mean about the divorce!! I think that shows Harper really didn't believe in their marriage and that was so sad for Nick!

    and LOL, I can understand a fangirl rating. I do it all the time :)

  11. I had to go look. I gave it four stars, but really... I think three is probably better mostly because of the HUGE misunderstanding that resulted in their divorce. Way too impulsive for people who were already married. Oh well.

  12. Christine - LOL you can always change it :)