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REVIEW: Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins

Dear Ms. Higgins,

book review This isn’t quite a straight contemporary and yet is not all the way to Chick Lit. I was firmly in Maggie’s corner as she searches for Mr. Right but I gotta say, it’s sad when two priests join your family in trying to find blind dates for you. Yet Maggie stays upbeat during the search. She isn’t too picky, demanding Mr. Rich-and Handsome, nor does she sink to accepting Mr. Merely Breathing. It’s also the second story set in Maine I’ve read in the past month. Is this the new Idaho?

Thank you for not trying to catch the local accent in the writing. One character is portrayed with only the Maine accent but you didn’t pepper the rest of the book with more than an occasional “ayuh” thereby avoiding a major peeve of mine – the Faux Highland Brogue Syndrome.

Yet there’s a lot of local color and habits – “jeezum” and stuff about lobstermen, and the fact that they think 55 degrees is weather for short sleeves and suntanning. Really? And May is the beginning of warm weather – oh burrrr says the Southern Girl in me. The rocky coast, the sound of the sea lapping the harbor rocks, the Blessing of the Fleet, and the monument to lost sailors. All of this added a lot to my enjoyment of the book. I appreciate that the book stops short of making this small town too cutesy or the people too “colorful” just for laughs.

I can see how Maggie’s mother would want her daughters to have more opportunities than she did or the ones she felt she lost/gave up. And that she probably won’t ever see the diner as such a great accomplishment – she probably grew up with it and will always remember it as the more greasy food place it was before Maggie put so much time and work in its renovation into a classic diner. And people are strange and often unintentionally hurtful in how they relate to others, especially their own family. She ragged Maggie because she felt Maggie needed the most care.

I love the relationship among Maggie and her siblings. Jonah names his boat the “Twin Menace” after his sisters and they in return call him “Bunny Boy.” Jonah hauls friends over to watch Maggie’s satellite TV and laughs at her mix-ups yet they all stick with each other in the end.

I quite understand Christy’s response to hearing their parent’s news. Even though she’s an adult, it’s hard to hear this. Her husband Will is almost too good to be true. The scenes of Maggie baby-sitting her niece are touching without activating my gag reflex. But wouldn’t it be easy for people to tell the twins apart based on their hands?

I had a feeling about Colonel. Once I found out his age, I knew he’d never make it to the end of the book. Yet the sections with him and Maggie were among the most moving to me since I’ve also lost beloved pets to old age. I freely admit to sobbing through some of them.

I found most of the book to be very funny. Yet after a while, I got tired of Maggie always ending up as the romantic joke of the town. In fact, I was tired of it long before she was. And why does she still keep mooning on about Father Tim for over a year? And not just daydreams but losing her train of thought and still staring at him in public? Then there’s the fact, as Maggie eventually admits to herself, that he took a little bit of advantage of her during the year as a source of food for various church functions. I didn’t end up with very happy feelings towards Father Tim.

The book definitely needed more of Malone’s POV. Yes, I know it’s a first person book but I’ve read those and still managed to get to know a hero’s thoughts and plans and hopes more than here. Malone is starting to open up but he’s still much of an enigma at books end. And what was with the scene where he got so mad and threw her out? We get drips and drabs of his past life but there are still a lot of questions I have about Malone.

Chantal is known for her male conquests and tells Maggie she’s slept with a few particular men yet Maggie immediately jumps to conclusions and makes an assumption. I admit that it is odd whom Chantal does confide in but Maggie’s quite ready to condemn someone very quickly.

The sex scenes could be rated G yet the intensity between Maggie and Malone can still be felt. I agree with one Amazon reviewer who praised the hand cream rubbing scene. Who can’t fall for a guy who sees this need of Maggie’s and makes sure he takes care of it. Kind of like a guy who makes sure his heroine’s tires are in good shape or, as Malone does, comes to her rescue when Maggie is unexpectedly confronted with an old flame. Malone is a man who notices the small things about her as well as the big.

The ending with Skip is not the exhilarating “tell him off” that some authors would engineer yet it places Skip in his appropriate place. A “used to be” boyfriend who acknowledges he handled their ending badly and whose current life is probably not all it’s cracked up to be despite the seemingly wonderful outward appearance. He’s a car salesman and how truly glamorous is that?

It’s nice to see the character’s jobs being incorporated into the story and there are two great examples here. Maggie is a hardworking owner of a diner. We see her doing her job in public and private, her concerns to improve the diner, her efforts to garner more attention for it. With Malone, it’s his skills as a lobsterman which take prominent place. He keeps his boat clean and in order, knows how to pilot it, is known as the first man out of the harbor and the last one back in.

Maggie suffers from a lot of the pratfalls expected of a Chick Lit heroine (her blind dates are hysterically funny – the Groin, the lobster decimator and animal mind reader, the grandfather) yet her inner struggles with her jealousy over her sister’s perfect life, husband and child, ground her and make her a much more sympathetic heroine than the usual one found in this genre. It’s not pea green envy so much as a woman wondering what’s so hard about finding a nice man who wants to settle down, raise a few children, live a good life with a loving partner.

“Catch of the Day” is an emotional and yet quick read. I was glued to it and managed to read it in one day and this was after spending a little bit of time finishing up another book. Thanks to Jane for introducing me to your work. B+

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

44 Comments

  1. Lori
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 15:23:43

    Woo-hoo! My copy is in the mail!

    I’ve been wanting to read Ms. Higgins work because of what readers here have said about her so I ordered 2 books, and this is one of them. Now I’m even more eager to read them. Thanks Jayne!

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  2. LauraB
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 15:35:02

    I have got to agree with you Jayne. I loved this book. I think I liked it even better than Just One of the Guys. I sobbed and sobbed at parts of this book and laughed out loud at others.

    It worked for me.

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  3. MaryKate
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 15:38:05

    I loved this book. In fact, after reading all three of her books, Kristian Higgins is my favorite new author of the year.

    I love that her heroines are not picture perfect and have great senses of humor. I agree that I would have liked to have seen more of Malone’s POV.

    All in all, a fantastic read, and I am in complete agreement with you, Jayne about the grade.

    Thanks for a terrific review.

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  4. MoJo
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 15:40:36

    Like Laura, I liked this better than Just One of the Guys.

    However, I also got tired of her being the town joke, and wanted her to do something about it, but then thought, “Well, what could she do that wouldn’t make it worse? Throw a fit?” Basically, I could see that happening in real life, and so any way Maggie chose to handle that would have been reasonable.

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  5. Keri M
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 15:51:35

    I loved this book!! I read it in a matter of hours and giggled my way through most of it. My husband thought I was crazy. I have had some of those dates long ago, so I could relate. I just wanted more of Malone’s thoughts and a quicker read on why he didn’t want Maggie doing things for him. That mainly was where my frustration with the book was at. I cannot wait to read the rest of what this author has in store and I have her Fool’s Rush In up on deck for the weekend….oh ok, Saturday by noon latest. ;-)

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  6. Val Kovalin
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 15:56:09

    What is the difference between Chick-Lit and Contemporary Romance subgenres? In the interest of my never-ending attempts to educate myself … :)

    Well-done review! You make this story sound very appealing.

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  7. Sandy D.
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 16:17:52

    I loved this book, too. It’s the best contemporary I’ve read all year, in fact.

    You were right though, I wanted more Malone. He was so intriguing. I liked him a lot more than the hero in “Just One of the Guys”.

    And now I need to go track down Higgans’ third book, I want to read it STAT.

    And Val – I think chick lit. is usually assumed to be shallower (whether this is true or not, I dunno). And the heroine is young, and usually lives in a big city. And there is lots of fashion and not much family stuff (except in Marion Keyes’ books).

    And chick lit. has different (pink, cutesy) covers, and usually comes in trade pb instead of the regular pb size.

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  8. Val Kovalin
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 16:33:29

    Thank you, Sandy D! That gives me a much better picture of what Chick-Lit is … kinda like The Devil Wears Prada?

    Now I’m curious about this part of the review:

    This isn't quite a straight contemporary and yet is not all the way to Chick Lit.

    So is Catch of the Day too light-hearted or humorous to be straight contemporary, but not shallow enough to be Chick-Lit? Gotta say, I like that title: Catch of the Day. Very cute!

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  9. MB
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 17:31:08

    I like this review! I noticed the same things in the reading the book and definitely agree as to more Malone POV, Father Tim as user, and thought that Maggie needed to stick up for herself sooner and stop letting herself be put down and made the brunt of jokes all the time.

    I know this book is a short Harlequin-length, but I think this story could have been fleshed out into a longer and even more intriguing storyline, with less dangling ends. I thought it ended too soon with not enough of a resolution.

    But this book was quite enjoyable! I enjoyed Kristin Higgin’s “voice” and will be looking for other books by her.

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  10. Janine
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 17:32:54

    I don’t think chick lit is shallower than romance. That’s the first time I’ve heard such a thing and I don’t agree with this description.

    IMO chick lit is different from romance in that it’s usually (but not always) written in first person, whereas romance is usually in third. Chick lit is also more likely to have an urban and sometimes even glamorous setting, some humor, and to focus more on the heroine’s journey rather than give equal weight to both hero and heroine. Also, chick lit sometimes has a HFN (happy for now) ending rather ending in marriage.

    Anyway, IMO the chick lit I read, like Alisa Kwitney and Emily Giffin’s books, has a fair amount of depth.

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  11. Val Kovalin
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 17:44:42

    Thank you, Janine! It’s good to get different perspectives. I didn’t know that thing about first-person versus third-person!

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  12. Another Jane
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 17:50:31

    I’ve read two of Higgins’ books now and will definitely pick up this one. Clearly I enjoy her writing. But my one problem sounds like it may occur in this book too. Too like chick lit in that the wrap-up/coming together part of the romance happens way late in the book and that lessens the emotional punch for me. Higgins has a definite way with her heroines but needs to flesh out her heroes a little more.

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  13. Jage
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 18:14:53

    The review is definitely spot on for me, especially wanting more from Malone’s POV and wishing she’d attempt to hide her pining a bit better.

    And one think I’ve noticed about chick lit that makes it different the contemporary romance is that they put the growth of the lead above the romance aspect, so even if there’s a romance it’s a back story while the heroine figures out who she is, what she wants, etc. while with romance you meet the hero early on and even as the heroine grows its along with the relationship which doesn’t have to be true for chicklit.

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  14. Sarah
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 18:15:09

    Couldn’t agree with this review more! I loved how you said Malone notices both the small and big things about her. But like you, I wanted more of his POV. Oh well, can’t have it all I guess. I really enjoyed this story.

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  15. Jayne
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 18:29:06

    I agree with everyone who’s stated that they like this book more than “Just One of the Guys” and that they like Malone better than Trevor. Totally, totally agree as you’ll eventually see from my review of “Guys.”

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  16. Jayne
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 18:31:31

    Now I need to go back and find a copy of Ms. Higgins’s first book. The one that needs to be released in ebook format! Grrr ::gnashing of teeth::

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  17. Jayne
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 18:34:18

    Clearly I enjoy her writing.

    Oh, absolutely. She’s got a wonderful, fresh voice.

    But my one problem sounds like it may occur in this book too. Too like chick lit in that the wrap-up/coming together part of the romance happens way late in the book and that lessens the emotional punch for me. Higgins has a definite way with her heroines but needs to flesh out her heroes a little more.

    Yes, yes, yes. Explained much better than I did.

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  18. MoJo
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 18:34:36

    Ms. Higgins's first book…[no] ebook format!…::gnashing of teeth::

    Yeah. What you said.

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  19. Anna
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 19:40:54

    But my one problem sounds like it may occur in this book too. Too like chick lit in that the wrap-up/coming together part of the romance happens way late in the book and that lessens the emotional punch for me. Higgins has a definite way with her heroines but needs to flesh out her heroes a little more.

    Absolutely! While I enjoyed the book, and it hung around in my head for days afterward, this is why I couldn’t 100% enjoy the book.

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  20. Maggie's Mom
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 21:06:32

    I enjoyed this book very much. BUT, I didn’t feel the pull to Malone. My first impression of him (when he gives her a ride) is of a grizzly guy, unattractive, big man. I wasn’t attracted to him and found it hard to become attracted to him. Haven’t said that, I enjoyed watching their relationship develop.

    I did not like Father Tim. I saw him as a “user”, trying to improve his “career”.

    I am excited to have discovered this author. I really loved her first book too (Fools Rush In).

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  21. Bev Stephans
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 21:37:14

    I too, liked “Catch of the Day” better than “Just One of the Guys”. Of her 3 books, ‘Catch’ is by far the best!

    Val, don’t worry about the differences between chick-lit and straight romance. Just pick up this book and enjoy!

    Jayne, with the exception of a few books, we essentially agree on what is good and what is not in the romance genre. Great review!

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  22. Val Kovalin
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 22:21:44

    Val, don't worry about the differences between chick-lit and straight romance. Just pick up this book and enjoy!

    Okay, ha, ha!

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  23. Diana
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 22:53:53

    Catch of the Day was the first Kristan Higgins book that I read, and I totally fell in love with it. I, too, would’ve liked to learn more about what was going through Malone’s head. When Malone did speak, however, it always packed a punch. He was definitely a sigh-worthy hero in my book. I also liked reading about Maggie’s dating ups and downs. I’ve enjoyed all of Kristan Higgins’ books and can’t recommend her enough to readers.

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  24. Joanie T
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 23:37:15

    I absolutely LOVED this book and it is no wonder that it snagged Romance Writer’s of America’s coveted RITA award! It has won Kristan another devoted fan and that’s saying a lot from an avowed historical/paranormal gal!

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  25. Shanna
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 23:52:24

    I loved this book too. Thanks for reminding me of one of the great parts I forgot (the hand cream thing) and the sad but sweet relationship with her dog. I think I’ll go back and read it again; you had some great insights that I hadn’t really thought about. Kristan Higgins has definitely made it to my autobuy list.

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  26. Christine
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 00:09:50

    Catch of the Day is my first Kristan Higgins book, too, and I was so pleasantly surprised at how easily I was swept away by such a simple love story. Within the first few pages, I accurately predicted the basic story arc, but boy what a fun trip from start to finish it turned out to be! As soon as Malone gave Maggie the ride when she had her spill on the bike, I knew he was the one for her. Not only that, but I knew that I wasn’t going to like Father Tim once I found out he was the one who passed her by. I thought the cast of secondary characters was a great compliment to the story, right down to Maggie’s dog, Colonel.

    Like most of the commenters here, I would have loved to learn more about Malone throughout the story, but when everything was said and done and I closed the book, I was glad I saw Malone exactly the way Maggie did. We got to see Malone, the quiet man who keeps to himself, who’s loyal and caring and sensitive. The Malone who pushes himself beyond his comfort zone and tries to open up for the woman he loves in order to keep her. I liked that Malone remained quiet, private and enigmatic until the very end, because it was the most realistic portrayal of his character and how he perfectly complimented Maggie.

    Very sweet story. I’m looking forward to reading Fools Rush In and Just One of the Guys.

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  27. MS Jones
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 00:17:56

    I just today bought Fools Rush In and may have to inhale it during the remains of the night (it’s earlier here on the Left Coast).

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  28. Taja
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 06:07:57

    I only read Just One of the Guys so far. I liked it, especially Higgins’s voice which helped with the slow beginning. I have Catch of the Day on my list of books to buy so I’m glad to hear that most readers liked it even more than Just One of the Guys.

    Thanks for the review.

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  29. Dalia
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 07:35:42

    So many people don’t like Trevor – I can’t understand why! I shall wait for your JOFTG review to defend him!

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  30. Dalia
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 07:36:52

    JOOTG – that’s what you get for being lazy.

    And as Taja said, I’ve only read JOOTG and really liked it so if Catch trumps it, will have to purchase soon.

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  31. MoJo
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 08:14:46

    So many people don't like Trevor

    Actually, I thought Trevor was kind of a blank wall. Malone wasn’t. In this case, I think it makes a difference which book you read first. I read Catch of the Day first, so by comparison…

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  32. tabitha
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 09:06:21

    After having read ‘Just One of the Guys’, I went out and bought the other two books by Kristan Higgins. I love her writing. In ‘Catch of the Day’, I sobbed when Colonel died. And like others who expressed it, I didn’t find Father Tim too endearing. He used Maggie’s feelings for him whenever he needed something and I felt it was him who helped made Maggie a joke within her community. Also, I wish there could’ve been more POV from Malone. He didn’t quite catch my attention in the beginning of the book because of how he was described when he picked Maggie up; but the hand scene made me go “aah”. Lol. All in all, I can’t wait til KH release a new book. Does anyone know when or what that would be? And, as always, great review!

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  33. Jayne
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 09:15:27

    I believe we’ll all have to wait until 2009 for the next book. Sob!

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  34. Jayne
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 09:17:09

    MoJo, I agree about the order of reading affecting preferences. I read JOOTG second, and definitely feel this one is better. Perhaps that means KH is getting better with each book she writes. Which makes me really impatient for 2009.

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  35. Jayne
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 09:18:33

    Trevor isn’t bad, per se. I just needed to get more of a feel for him. With as little as we see of Malone, I still felt I knew him better.

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  36. Jayne
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 09:24:46

    Joanie, as a fellow historical girl, I’m with you on this! I do like contemporaries but I find myself grading them a little bit harder. I’ll forgive a few things in those that I won’t for modern stories.

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  37. Jayne
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 09:34:55

    Tabitha, I had to go get a hand towel to sob into when Colonel died. It was either that or use up a box of tissues. After which I had to go love up on my two boys. The cat was annoyed that I kept dripping tears on his fur but ended up allowing me to adore him. My dog just thumped his tail and settled back to sleep.

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  38. Leeann Burke
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 09:47:25

    This was the first of Ms Higgins books I read. I cried so hard when Colonel died and then once more when Malone offered Maggie a new dog. I believe she also won the RITA with this title. It was well deserved.

    I have her latest title in my to be read pile and plan on reading it very soon.

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  39. Dalia
    Sep 22, 2008 @ 09:55:46

    Ok, I purchased Catch on ebooks right after I wrote my comment because I was too impatient to Amazon it and…I don’t even think it’s a matter of which book was read first. With Malone, silence is platinum, but I’m a silence is flea market costume jewellery type of girl so it took me a good long while to get into it.

    Also, I agree that the settings are so similar, it lends itself to comparison. Of the two ‘searching for husband’ women, JOOTG featured someone who wasn’t the butt of so many public jokes. She had a better hold on life I thought.

    And of the two divorcing parents, I connected more with JOOTG.

    That said, the part I connected most with in Catch was when Colonel died (I cried) and then when her mother was so CALLOUS (I bawled). Of course, as you can see by the caps, I was truly invested in this book so though I prefer Guys, Catch was still pretty damn good.

    How does Fools Rush In compare? Should I lay down another $4.30 on ebooks?

    Dalia

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  40. MoJo
    Sep 22, 2008 @ 10:36:08

    How does Fools Rush In compare? Should I lay down another $4.30 on ebooks?

    Won’t have to. Doesn’t come that way. Yet. ::wahhhh::

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  41. Catch of the Day | I Like It Dog-Eared
    Sep 09, 2013 @ 06:10:24

    […] Other reviews: Angieville Dear Author […]

  42. Evelyn
    Jan 28, 2014 @ 22:19:25

    Well to be honest I havent read the book but I did read some reviews. And from those reviews there are some doubts well, in the book somebody to love by kristan higgans, they do mention them a bit more when parker and james go to gideons cove to see what the house the not so rich anymore parker inherited looks like.

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  43. Vidhina(always reading something)
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 08:55:42

    Well,I just cn’t help it.My first Kristan Higgins Book was Too Good to be True..and since then,It has been my standard mark for all other romances I’ve read.the book is so amazing..and Callahan..i don’t think Trevor or malone could compare to him..But then that’s just me-purely obsessed with Grace,in all her civil war nerd glory,Callahan O’shea ex-con and ANGUS..how can i forget the little pup..Everything about the book is captivating-to me.And kristan has improved,surely.

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  44. Vidhina(always reading something)
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 08:58:36

    Well,I just can’t help it.My first Kristan Higgins Book was Too Good to be True..and since then,It has been my standard mark for
    all other romances I’ve read.the book is so amazing..and Callahan..i don’t think Trevor or malone could compare to him..I keep comparing Maggie and Chastity to Grace and Grace always wons,Humour,Idiocacy(is that even a word?)…whatever.But then that’s just me-purely obsessed with Grace,in all her civil war nerd glory,Callahan O’shea ex-con and ANGUS..how can i forget the little pup..Everything about the book is captivating-to me.And kristan has improved,surely.

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